New Sanitation Service Authority trucks have sparked unease among employees who are set to work on them three days after they arrived to relieve mounting piles of refuse, Barbados TODAY has learned.
Now the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is set to hold talks amid reports of concerns reportedly raised by workers about the vehicles.
NUPW President Akanni McDowall did not discuss the concerns raised by union members but told Barbados TODAY: “We will meet and any issues that have been identified we will be discussed when we meet.”
McDowall declared that the NUPW “is always open to discussions”.
Workers claim that SSA mechanics were not consulted about the configuration of the trucks, Barbados TODAY was told.
A source revealed that some have complained that the new trucks can only seat two people when the current ones can seat three.
The workers are also said to be uncomfortable with the location of the platform.
The source explained: “The step which is normally on the back, is now at the sides.
“The workers are worried that their safety is in question.
But the source pointed out that in keeping with international standards, “a platform on the side was not necessarily a bad thing because workers will get less toxic fumes in their faces”.
The ten left-hand-drive Navistar trucks out of Mexico, that arrived at the weekend cost $BDS400,000 each.
Weighing in on reports of worker unease over the trucks, Prime Minister Mia Mottley told Starcom Network radio that Government was prepared to talk sanitation workers about their concerns.
“If they want to talk let us sit down and talk,” she said.
Tackling the issue of a platform at the side of the truck in
her brief comment, Mottley, too, pointed to international standards.
She said: “I believe that for the platform to be on the side of the truck as oppose to the back is for health reasons, to avoid the inhalation of fumes.
“If you really want to go international [then there is] an automatic lever and standardized garbage cans where the automatic lever picks it up.”
She added: “I want us to to talk it out.”