Workers respond to 'puncheon' claims: No tools, PPE for three years
Workers at the Highways Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport said contrary to claims that they were drinking and 'making cook' on the job, workers took industrial action after they had not been given tools for the last three years, and had not received PPE (personal protective equipment) for the last five years.
A spokesperson for the workers said that Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan was aware that workers had carried out three weeks of industrial action after they said personal allowances had been cut.
The spokesperson said workers have been paying out of pocket for protective equipment such as boots, gloves, hardhats, and tools, without compensation.
She said workers have even died before while working on highways due to a lack of proper processes.
The spokesperson said that some workers' needs were prioritised over others, and while workers sacrificed in order to get the job done, they decided enough was enough.
"They carried out industrial action for three weeks as they are totally fed up, they cannot afford to keep paying for their own tools and equipment, especially with the state of the economy right now," the source said.
"This puts workers' lives at risk, they are working on the highway and on the median, people have died as a result of situations like this."
The source also referred to Tabaquite MP Surujrattan Rambachan's comments after he said he saw workers 'making cook and drinking puncheon', saying that he could have investigated the matter more thoroughly.
"If he really wanted to say something he should have listened to the workers. Workers are committed to their jobs, this is their livelihood, and they take this very seriously," she said.
On Monday, Rambachan asked Sinanan regarding reports of decreased productivity within the Highways Division, and said he saw workers in Mayo 'making cook and drinking puncheon'.
Sinanan said there were issues regarding productivity within the Highways Division and added that there were close to 500 vacancies which needed to be filed.
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