The National Union of Public Workers is calling for a hazard allowance for workers in the Drainage Division in the Ministry of Environment.
Amid reports that some workers contracted ringworm disease because of the hazardous conditions under which they were required to work, the trade union has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of the Civil Service for a daily hazard allowance similar to what exists at the Sanitation Service Authority.
In a statement issued today, the NUPW said that those workers faced many threats to their health and safety which included: exposure to faeces, carcasses, blood borne pathogens, dangerous bacteria and contracting Hepatitis B, Jaundice and tetanus among other infectious diseases.
“The Union states that the present method of compensation for carrying out drainage work is inadequate when one considers the hazardous nature of the job. The workers are currently paid a sewerage allowance based on nominal hourly rate. The difficulty with this method is that compensation is rigidly based on the drainage work hours instead of risk of exposure to hazards associated with the day to day job.
“The NUPW has recognised that the current method of paying allowances needs to be replaced by a more equitable level of compensation for conditions under which drainage workers are required to function.
“Prior to the transfer of the Drainage Unit from under the Ministry of Transport and Works to the Drainage Division under the Ministry of the Environment, workers were guaranteed a number of hours daily as an incentive for undertaking drainage duties, however, under the Drainage Division, this incentive arrangement has been discontinued and the hourly rate basis is rigidly applied resulting in the workers receiving lesser compensation for drainage duties,” the Union stated. (KC)