Field workers at Fisherpond Plantation in St. Thomas are crying out for a better financial deal, especially on retirement.
One of the 30 labourers, Ermentha Taitt, will be retiring soon, after nearly 30 years at the plantation, but she is not happy with the money she will be taking home.
“Gine home without anything is hard, it is a heart burn; and if you see me come up the hill on mornings with this leg here, you would want to know where I gine, till I get on the plantation to get a dollar,” lamented Taitt.
“And it is hard for me to guh home without anything at all, only depending on the National Insurance. That is not sweet, it is a heart burn,” cried the mother who supports two children at home and a grand child.
“Water bill, light bill, every kind of bill I have to go home and sit down to pay, and that is not nice, I need something,” the agricultural worker lamented.
Taitt said the house in which she was living had been “falling down on me”, and had to work hard to build another one, so she now could live out the rest of her life in comfort.
The 61 year old questioned how she was going to survive on retirement without a better gratuity.
Another labourer, 70 year old Doreen Layne, who has been working in the sugar industry for 33 years, is due to go home in two weeks.
Layne too is appealing for much more than the “few cents” from NIS after so many years working in the agricultural sector.
She said she started at $16 a day and had to work hard on her own to build a house and support four children, five grand children and one great grand.
“I went here for 33 years at $16 a day, without nothing, with little money. I had my house to support, I had to build a house on my own out the $16 a day. Some times they give you three days, some days they give you four,” Layne recounted.
She remembered having to feed, cloth and send to school her children with little, and now needs to feel secure on retirement.
The workers spoke after chatting today with Opposition Leader Mia Mottley. (EJ)†††