Thursday 5 December, 2019

Sanitation workers carry out strike action at landfills

Photo: Sanitation workers previously protested in April 2017, calling for better working conditions. Photo via social media.

Photo: Sanitation workers previously protested in April 2017, calling for better working conditions. Photo via social media.

The Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company (SWMCOL) said it is working towards a solution with sanitation workers after a report of strike action at several landfills.

In a statement, the company said strike action by the Industrial General and Sanitation Workers Union took place at the Beetham, Guanapo and Forres Park Landfills on Monday, which resulted in traffic congestion heading into these sites.

The company said the CEO and Management are working towards implementing a solution in a timely manner.

Union president Robert Benacia said workers have still not been issued backdated wages for the period 2014-2016 and a new financial period is about to conclude at the end of 2019. 

"We have some people with respiratory problems, we have people, including myself, with rashes that won’t go away, some people have gone to doctors and spent a lot of money trying to alleviate them."

Benacia said there is as yet no confirmation that persons have died from cancer but there have been several reports of workers dying soon after retirement. 

He is pleading with the Finance Ministry to authorise these payments for sanitation workers. 

"At this point, bringing this to a conclusion now rests with the Finance Ministry. Without instructions or approvals from the Finance Minister, nothing can progress."

Benacia said that they did not want it to reach this stage but they have no choice. 

“We didn’t want it to reach to this but if they don’t settle it by the end of this week or if they don’t reach out to us by the end of today, it will escalate."

"I hope the Minister of Finance will let better sense prevail because things will only get worse if they keep ignoring our issues," he said. 

The company apologised to the public for the inconvenience caused.

Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes to avoid traffic in these areas.

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