The country’s leading public sector trade union is calling for a national consultation on the water “nightmare”, mainly in the north and east of the island.
The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) said all ideas should contend in a bid to find a short-term solution to the problem.
Acting Assistant General Secretary Wayne Walrond said with the situation seemingly getting worse, now was the time for a national consultation among key groups.
“We have to come together . . . and see how can we really respond to this situation because as we speak the situation is proliferating across the island in terms of water outages, and we are very concerned. So I think employers, NGOs [non-governmental organizations], trade unions, every person has to come together to see how can we assist those persons who are really facing this plight,” Walrond said.
The trade unionist told Barbados TODAY he could “definitely connect to these persons who are facing nightmares with water woes, especially like St Joseph”, and he encouraged employers concerned about their workers who are experiencing water outages to assist wherever possible.
“The employers may have to find creative ways to reach out to workers who this water problem is affecting because water problems affect families, it affects sanitation, it affects your ability to do laundry, it affect your whole working life. It can cause delays in getting to work and being punctual,” he said.
“If workers are stressed with the water problem it does impact then on who they are when they get to work if they are faced with those problems.”
Walrond also suggested that as Government embarked on its desalination efforts, the notion of water exploration should not be abandoned.
“There is still a school of thought that there could still be water exploration . . . I don’t think we should do without water exploration because desalination plants to me are expensive, they go through a process. I still think there is some room for water exploration,” he said.
His recommendation followed a similar plea from Duty Manager and Head of Security at Turtle Beach Hotel Philip Straughn during a recent Barbados Employers’ Confederation safety forum at the NUPW’s Dalkeith,
St Michael headquarters.
While the tourism industry has not been directly affected by the water outages, Straughn said then he was concerned about the situation as workers at his hotel were feeling the impact.
“Some of our employees live in St John [and] St Thomas and they can’t get their clothes wash, they can’t bathe and two weeks ago some employees said to me they can’t get their clothes wash, they find it hard to get the children to school. What we did, I went to my general manager and we allowed them to bring clothes there to do laundry and I thought that was very good,” Straughn said to applause.
“The water is a big issue now . . . it is affecting all of us in here. I do believe we need a national consultation. We need to come together,” he stressed at the time.
Straughn also called on other employers to speak with their workers who were having challenges with water outages and give them an opportunity where possible to use the water at their workplaces.