Concerned about implications of prolonged protest action on local businesses, the Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association Alex McDonald is preparing to meet tomorrow with protesting garbage haulers and movers.
This is in an effort to identify a possible solution to their current impasse with Government over its introduction of a $25 tipping fee.
Barbados TODAY understands that the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) could also be getting involved as early as today in the dispute.
For the past two days, private haulers who are responsible for collecting most of this island’s garbage, have done little or no work, and are threatening to intensify their action unless the fee is scrapped.
However, McDonald is concerned that such a move could have major ripple effects.
“We don’t know what the total impact would actually be because it touches so many different things from building materials to restaurants, hospitality, schools, health and medical facilities and so on. What we do know is that if it is a prolonged impasse it won’t be a good thing,” he said.
“To that end, we are meeting as the private sector association with the private sector parties to see if we can understand what the issues are, and hopefully assist in making a breakthrough where all parties benefit.”
While insisting that his organization’s role was not to take sides, he acknowledged that there were a number of industries that were dependent on the truckers to remove waste from their properties.
“Let’s say for instance if medical waste was on site, then that would be an issue. . . . If we couldn’t move waste from the slaughter house or a processing plant, I would imagine that the Ministry of Health would have a lot to say about having offal, and other types of waste, on your site and you are processing.”
“. . . that would be a very grave concern for us because then that has implications for supply of food and manufacturing,” he pointed out, adding, “we have to find a way that we can move beyond this very strong action that the truckers are talking about, and into an area where we can reach some level of understanding,” he said.
Identifying the hotel industry as one that stood to be negatively impacted, McDonald said he was concerned that “if there is further action it will affect the image of the island, the health of the workers and ultimately our guests”.
“Our drive in the private sector is to try to resist the pressure of rising costs because they will be passed on to the consumer. Unfortunately what would happen then is that we have a vicious cycle of costs being passed on,” he added.