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Monday, 13 June 2016 18:35

Beetham sanitation workers protest for back pay, better conditions at landfill

Written by C News
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Sanitation workers at the Beetham landfill stopped work for a few hours on Monday to protest the condition of the landfill sites and taxes on their back pay.

Their action outside the Beetham landfill virtually halted garbage trucks from entering the dump.

The workers had locked themselves inside the Beetham landfill, calling for their back pay and improved working conditions at the sites. Commuters along the Beetham Highway, already caught in the regular Monday traffic, slowed down to look at the long line of garbage trucks along the shoulder.

One Landfill Operator, Jason Thomas, said: "If you look right across there, you will see a heap of tyres. Zika in the place. Mosquito bites left, right and centre."

Mr. Thomas said those conditions, in addition to the daily influx of waste, are a health hazard.

"We are 50 years behind in waste management in this country, you know. Waste management is an issue of high priority. Everything that we are defending out there, chemical waste, hospital waste, biological waste, everything comes in here where we house and we base, you know. We house and we base right here. So we face a lot of issues. We body taking a lot of jam."

Another issue raised by the protesting workers is outstanding back pay.

"We hearing that they going and pay back pay to the police and the nurses and all these people by month end. We had a deadline date of November last year which they fail to meet but it's a total disrespect to sanitation workers overall."

The sanitation workers are asking for a tax break, since they say the buying power of their money has dropped considerably.

President of the Industrial Sanitation and General Workers union, Robert Benacia, showed letters he wrote to different Ministers, seeking an audience, letters as far back as November 2015.

He added that the action on Monday went beyond the Beetham landfill.

"At the other landfill sites there are other similar action taking place. All work sites, the dumps in Trinidad and Tobago, because we don't have landfills, present similar hazards."

C News spoke to SWMCOL's Alison Awai who confirmed that the gates were locked for just over two hours.

She said waste disposal was diverted to the Guanapo landfill in Arima and the Forres Park landfill in Claxton Bay.

Ms. Awai also said the workers held talks with the SWMCOL CEO to determine the way forward.

Read 504 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:17
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