Garbage piles up as drivers, loaders continue strike over outstanding pay

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Piles of uncollected garbage as seen in one residential area (Photo by Makeida Antonio)
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By Theresa Goodwin

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Householders are facing yet another day of dealing with unsightly, smelly garbage that continues to pile up as truck drivers and loaders at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) continue a prolonged protest over outstanding overtime pay.

The action started on Monday when the sanitation workers parked their trucks and assembled at the Cooks Sanitary Landfill, refusing to work until they get a firm commitment about their overtime pay which they claim has been outstanding since 2020.

Another concern is proper medical care or risk pay to compensate for what they are exposed to on the job. In addition to collecting household waste, they are also tasked with picking up garbage from medical facilities treating Covid-infected patients.

The action is continuing despite confirmation from NSWMA General Manager Daryl Spencer that the workers were paid on two separate occasions, December last year and again on February 4.

Yesterday, the aggrieved workers spent most of the day engaging in talks with union officials and management over the issue.

One of the affected employees, Jones Williams, said all parties agreed to continue the dialogue this morning to determine how the payments will be handled.

He said his colleagues are adamant that they will not be working until they receive what is owed to them.

The impact of the strike is being felt in communities across the island with householders battling to secure waste, that keeps piling up, from dogs and other animals.  

Williams said he has witnessed piles of garbage within various communities and while this is of great concern, workers must take a stand and demand what is rightfully theirs.

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