The threat of major industrial action at the state-run Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) has been discarded, at least for the time being.
Following a meeting with the estimated 800 unionized SSA workers this morning, President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall reported that significant progress had been made overnight in resolving their main grouses, namely the suspension of supervisor Michael Stuart from the SSA for over a year, outstanding appointments and the yet-to-be approved collective agreement between the NUPW and Government.
In terms of the appointments, McDowall said an undertaking was given by management to complete the process for “all eligible workers” within the next two days.
“I received the information late yesterday evening that the workers of SSA would be receiving their appointments by the end of this month,” McDowall said.
“Of course what the union has to do, and what we always do, is that we try to make sure that whatever agreements are reached are placed in black and white. So we still have to make sure that information is sent to us in writing which we will do, but we have it on good grounds from the management of SSA that those workers will receive their appointments by the end of the month,” he added.
The union president also reported that the two sides were working to sign off on their new collective agreement as “as soon as possible”.
“We don’t want to have an agreement that doesn’t contain all of the wishes of the members. So once the agreement has in all of the information that we think that it should have, then we would make sure that the agreement is signed as soon as possible,” McDowall explained.
He also reported while the union was prepared to fight for Stuart’s reinstatement, the 61-year-old, who had been employed at the SSA for 16 years, had decided, after discussion with his wife, family and close friends, to opt for retirement.
“The support was here for Michael Stuart. We had all of the meetings to make sure Michael Stuart was reinstated. We did everything within our control to make sure that Michael Stuart was reinstated. All that was left for us to do now was to make sure we had the support of the workers to take industrial [action] for him to be reinstated,” said McDowall, who termed Stuart’s decision an “interesting” development, while wishing him a “healthy and enjoyable retirement”.