Environmental issues at two Government buildings resulted in workers walking off the job today and the early closure of the departments.
This morning workers in the Accountant General’s office, which is housed the Treasury Building in Bridgetown, hastily abandoned their stations and congregated on the outside of the building on account of a pungent odour.
Later in the day workers at the Archives Department in St James also vacated their offices, complaining of a toxic smell. Barbados TODAY understands that this was the fourth time that the chemical odour, which has not been linked to any substances used in the day-to-day operations of the Government department, has been pervasive.
In both instances, the National Union Public Workers (NUPW) was called in.
However, at the end of the day, the union’s Assistant General Secretary Wayne Waldron told Barbados TODAY that while he had been given assurances by management that both issues would be addressed, he was still not satisfied with the lack of guaranteed timelines.
“In the case of the Accountant General’s office it was not simply a case of a walkout. We were made aware that there was environmental issue at that office in the form of an unpleasant odour to the extent that it caused great discomfort to staff and made it untenable to remain at their workstation. The union was called in and we went and spoke to the management and we were made aware that certain action was being taken to rectify it but they gave us no indication how soon they would be able to put this plan of action into issue. So all we can do is continue to monitor the situation,” he said.
“With regards to the issue at the Archives we also spoke to management and they also told us that they would trying various things to fix the problem but they also have not given a definitive timeline about anything,” he added.
However, the NUPW official also warned that he could not guarantee in either case that workers would remain at their stations if the problems were not rectified by tomorrow.
“They will report for duty but if the problems persist I cannot guarantee that that they would remain at their desk. These are not good conditions for anyone to work under. The Labour Department has also been notified and we hoping that this is resolved soon,” Waldron stressed.