A persistent rodent problem at longstanding aluminum furniture-maker Oran Limited, prompted workers to walk off the job Tuesday and summon the Barbados Workers Union (BWU).
The production Department’s 50 employees protested with placards against conditions they declared unsanitary and unsafe.
Rodents have been plaguing the workspace for some time, Simone Codrington, the BWU’s Public Relations, Corporate Communications and Information Officer, disclosed, following talks between the BWU and the management of the Harbour Road factory and showroom.
The problem apparently escalated when Oran began to lay down bait to eradicate the vermin.
“The rodents would have come out after the baiting situation and that is one of the issues that brought them out this morning,” Codrington said.
BWU Industrial Relations Officer Shakeda Williams insisted that workers did not strike, but were simply expressing their rights “in alignment with the Safety and Health at Work legislation”
“[The law] says if they feel uncomfortable at any time within their work environment and find it to be eminently dangerous, they can remove themselves from that area until the issue if resolved and that is exactly what happened today,” Williams explained.
Following the discussions with management, exterminators were brought in to assess the rodent-infested area and initiate another round of baiting.
Williams said: “We also had a cleaning agency come in as well to sanitize the area so that the workers will feel a little bit more comfortable in the environment.
“The issue was going on for sometime and the workers were at a certain point where baiting takes place, the rodents show up and they need to be cleaned up on a continuous basis.”
The workers also expressed frustration with the lack of industrial cleaning at the plant since 2017 to remove buildups of mould and dust. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, workers said that they were hoping for higher standards of cleanliness.
When questioned about the issues, Oran’s Operations Manager Justin Oran pledged consistent dialogue with the union in the interest of maintaining high standards of health and safety at the family-owned firm. [email protected]
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