Officers at the Town and Country Planning Development Office are expected to remain off the job, a day after walking out over mounting workplace environment concerns, prompting a shutdown, the union representative has said.
The ongoing environmental issues ranging from mould to structural issues will take some time to be fixed, National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Assistant General Secretary Wayne Walrond told Barbados TODAY.
The workers are expected to stay away from the headquarters, housed in one of the Garrison’s 200-year-old historic military barracks, for the rest of the week as they await official word as to what will happen from Monday.
“My understanding is that for the balance of the week the staff would not be expected to be really functional in that building for the remainder of the week. But Monday, they will communicate that with the staff. So, for the remainder of the week they will not be required to operate from that location but from Monday hopefully, they will get further communication on what is the next move. That is as much that I can say,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Walrond also explained that the problems at Town and Country Planning could not be fixed swiftly as the top floor carpeting must be removed and the floor retiled which will take a while with all the Government procedures that need to be followed.
“You are talking about the removal of carpet and the tiling, you know those procedures going through procurement. . . . You know the carpet will not be done in a day and the replacement of tiles,” he said.
Yesterday morning, the workers went on strike to protest the protracted air quality issues, which they said had begun to harm their health.
“Generally speaking it has affected the health of staff to the extent they were forced to take sick leave and complained of respiratory illness among other things,” Walrond said, adding that the staff believed that they had no other choice than to protect themselves from an environment that was not conducive to their safety and well-being.