Work by staff of the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) came to a temporary standstill yesterday when personnel staged a work stoppage in the morning.
The workers did so over their concerns about several health-related issues. They voiced these to their union, represented by National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) Assistant General Secretary, Wayne Waldron, while on the compound of the SSA headquarters.
Their concerns included those about what safety and health measures were being implemented in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the need for a group medical plan for workers, having a hazard allowance and a call for the reestablishment of a Health and Safety Committee.
Waldron met briefly with management of the SSA and the Environment Minister, Trevor Prescod on the compound. However, greater talks about the workers’ concerns occurred in a private meeting later that day at the National Petroleum Corporation.
The Health Ministry’s Dr. Karen Broome also visited the SSA’s headquarters to speak to workers about COVID-19 and how they can safeguard themselves.
Speaking to media prior to the private meeting, Waldron said, “I think the workers received the information from Dr. Broome in terms of a better understanding of the coronavirus and what protective measure they can put in place to safeguard themselves.”
He added going forward, “the basic housekeeping like how you respond to influenza and other ailments are the ongoing things that should be done even outside the coronavirus. So we would emphasise the need for management to make sure they have the necessary sanitary facilities in place like [sanitisers] to ensure that outside even the coronavirus, we are ensuring safety and health standards that are acceptable to protect the workers and all alike.”