The public is being put on notice that their garbage pickups on the weekend will cease at the end of this week unless the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) states whether it intends to continue the interim overtime arrangement for workers.
This warning comes from Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Delcia Burke, who told Barbados TODAY that she is yet to receive word from the SSA management after a three-week interim arrangement elapsed last weekend.
“The SSA still has not gotten back to us on whether the workers will still be paid overtime for the time being and we all knew that the arrangement is only three weeks. So unless they come to us and tell us otherwise, I have instructed the staff to only work on weekdays,” Burke told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
It was last Wednesday that NUPW and SSA management continued talks but yielded little clarity for the way forward. Speaking to reporters immediately after the meeting, which was held at the SSA’s Wildey, St Michael headquarters, Burke explained that the SSA hierarchy did not state whether the overtime payments would continue past last weekend.
“The truth is that the Sanitation Service Authority did not say they were going to stop the arrangement but when we first made the arrangement, we knew that it was for three weekends only. Our position is that the workers will continue to work [the way they are accustomed] and if they work weekends then they [must] be paid overtime. They [SSA management] have not said that the arrangement is going to cease but we are aware that the arrangement was only put in place for three weekends,” said Burke at the time.
She had also revealed that the SSA management made it clear that they were in no position to decide on the worker’ position but instead kicked it up to the level of Government. She told the media that her union would now wait and see what the Government decides.
This afternoon Burke made it clear that while the workers were prepared to wait for the final decision to come back from Government, they were not prepared to continue any weekend arrangement in the interim without guarantees.
“The workers need to know that some arrangement is in place while Government decides on the way forward but as it stands the workers will only work on the five weekdays,” she stressed.
Barbados TODAY reached out to SSA General Manager Roslyn Knight for an update but she declined to comment, stating any response must come from the chairman of the SSA Board of Directors, Senator Rudy Grant. When contacted, Grant told Barbados TODAY that he would release a statement tomorrow.
Last month the issue of overtime threatened to derail weekend garbage collection over the Christmas holidays.
Under the current arrangement a work week spans from Monday to Friday and therefore workers are paid overtime for working on the weekends. The proposal was for the work week to be made up of any five days out of seven.
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