Burma Quarry protest boss’ possible relocation

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Fifteen workers at the Burma Quarry, as of yesterday, are staging a protest over a perceived threat from management to relocate their supervisor at the plant, Bhagratt Kalidass.
According the Shop Steward, Michal Peters told OBSERVER media that he and his co-workers will not resume normal operations until upper management, which includes the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and the Parliamentary Secretary in the ministry, Senator Michael Freeland meets with them and secures their supervisor’s position.
“Every day, the crusher ah bruk dung and we have to fix it. Our supervisor who doing his thing for over five years, dem want move he for no good reason because the plant nuh start on time this morning,” Peters said.
During a tour of the facility, OBSERVER media was told that Public Works Director Dr Lucene Hanley, verbally informed Kalidass that he should report to the Bendals Quarry at 8 am today. However, Dr Hanley did not provide Kalidass with any official documentation to that effect.
The exchange between both men prompted the workers to contact OBSERVER media and express their shock as they affirmed that they were not going to crush any material.
If they follow through with the action, this will result further delays to the country’s road works programme.
Peters, who is also a crusher controller, explained that they have been experiencing constant interruptions and in an eight-hour work day they only get two to three hours of steady crushing from the million-dollar machine.
The interruptions, he said, are caused by a thin conveyor belt and faulty guards on the crusher resulting in daily breakdowns, although Cabinet reported that it was “fully functional” during a press conference on August 24.
In a May 10 Cabinet press release written by the government’s Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst, “The two crusher plants — one in Burma and the other in Bendals — will also be ready to produce by the end of June 2017.
One plant will crush limestone rock, the other will crush volcanic rock. The Cabinet agreed to meet some of the outstanding overtime payments due to workers.”
Yesterday, the workmen took the opportunity to list a myriad of complaints over the working conditions at the facility.
For years, they said, the operators of excavators, bulldozers and crushers have made requests for pay increase, upgrades to the facilities and, as recently as last year, for additional work garments.
They have been working without protective clothing like helmets and gloves, which one operator said that, as precaution, the men have to stand at least 20 feet away from the main crusher at all times because large stones will fall from the conveyor belt.
A bulldozer operator said he has been working at the quarry for over 10 years and is still taking home apprentice pay.
The Shop Steward, Peters, said that the weekly take-home pay for 90 percent of the workers is less than $500, if they do not work overtime.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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