Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) yesterday confirmed that it will retrench 70 per cent of the workforce at its wholly owned Barbados-based subsidiary, Arawak Cement Company.
TCL issued a statutory information notice, published on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange website on Friday, in which it said the company’s board had passed a resolution authorising changes in the operating model of Arawak Cement.
The cement-producing company, which is headquartered in Claxton Bay, said: “In the interest of its continued viability, Arawak Cement Company Ltd suspended its clinker production on March 15, 2023. The core operation of the company will be focused on the grinding of clinker and cement production. Arawak will continue to produce and supply cement to meet the demand of the Barbados market.”
Clinker is an intermediate product used in the production of cement. It is a mix of limestone and minerals that have been heated in a kiln and transformed by that heat.
TCL said in accordance with the consultations with the two representative trade unions at the Barbados cement plant, “the workforce will be adjusted and approximately 30 per cent of the current employees of Arawak Cement will be retained in the new operating model.”
Managing director of the TCL group, Francisco Aguilera Mendoza, told the Guardian in a telephone interview yesterday that Arawak Cement currently has 175 permanent and casual employees. He agreed that separating 70 per cent of the company’s 175 employees meant that about 123 employees would be leaving it, while approximately 52 employees would be retained.
Aguilera said TCL’s Barbados operation had generated clinker inventory of about 30,000 tonnes. He said the 30,000 tonnes of clinker is expected to be manufactured into cement over the next six to eight months.
After that period, TCL will start importing clinker into Barbados from its Jamaica or Trinidad operations. The TCL managing director noted that Arawak Cement is the smallest of TCL’s three producing centres and that Barbados exported 80 per cent of the plant’s output.
Last August, TCL announced a plan to expand the production capacity at its subsidiary in Jamaica, Caribbean Cement Company Ltd, by 30 per cent.
The expansion of TCL’s Jamaica operations is expected to cost approximately US$40 million for the first phase of the project.
The expansion plan is expeced to be completed by the second half of 2024.
In its most recent quarterly financials–which is for the nine months ended September 30, 2022–TCL declared after-tax profits of $167.09 million, which was an increase of 175 per cent compared with the $60.58 million the company earned for the period January to September 2021.