2916443
Former employees of Trinweld Contracting Services Ltd protest outside the company demanding their fringe benefits, at Harmony Hall, Marabella yesterday.

Months after Trinweld Contracting Services Ltd completed work on a project in La Brea, former employees are calling on the company to honour fringe benefits owed to them for over a year.

A small group protested at the company’s entrance saying that the payments are long overdue and the company keeps giving them the runaround.

The former workers explained that Trinweld, a welding and fabricating company, in Harmony Hall, Marabella was a contractor engaged in constructing the Caribbean Gas Chemical Ltd (CGCL) plant at the Union Industrial Estate, La Brea.

As a condition of their employment, they would receive fringe benefits based on the number of safe working hours. For each hour without incident, they would receive $2.50.

A spokesman for the group, Jason Regis said the benefit is payable upon the employees’ completion of service. For some of them, their services ended in 2019.

“The deal was that after the work and two weeks after you hand in your swipe badge, the fringe would be paid. It is going into 14 months now. At first, they said that Trinweld did not collect the money for the fringe. About six months after, we had some contact in there, and we called them. They said ‘all the money was paid for your fringe’. What is really going on? Somebody is taking us for a fool. They said they were willing to cooperate with a union to give information, but they would not give us that information as it would go against protocol,” Regis said.

He said a company consultant contacted some of the workers two months ago and assured that the company would pay the benefits, but the deadline has gone.

“Every time we called, we did not get through. They kept putting it off month after month. When they realised people would protest, they pay two people, but this is not enough. Tell us what is going on. Borrow if you have to. We do not know what is going on.”

Other protesters argued that it was unfair that 75 per cent of the workforce collected their fringe benefits, mostly those from La Brea and environs.

With the construction industry slowing significantly during the COVID-19 period, they need the payments.

In some cases, workers accumulated 400 hours, which calculated up to $10,000. Some employees had more hours, the former employees said.

Guardian Media called Trinweld several times, but no one picked up our calls.