Solid Waste workers owed thousands set to receive partial payment by Christmas

Drivers and others at the National Solid Waste Management Authority took industrial action yesterday to express frustration over owed money (Photo by Theresa Goodwin)
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By Theresa Goodwin

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Truck drivers and roadside landscapers who protested yesterday over money owed to them for several years – in some cases as much as $100,000 – are set to see some reprieve by the weekend.

The management of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has agreed to pay a portion of the outstanding money by the end of the week. The commitment follows a meeting between the workers, the statutory corporation’s officials, and the minister with responsibility for the NSWMA, Sir Molwyn Joseph.

 Yesterday’s meeting was held an hour or so after drivers stopped working to show their frustration with the way payments are processed by the NSWMA. They claimed the authority has done nothing to settle the backlog and, in the meantime they say they have been forking out for expenses such as gas, equipment repairs and work wear.

Spokesperson for the workers Earl Waldron told Observer yesterday they were able to reach a compromise with the management team at NSWMA regarding the upfront payment to be made later this week, and a further commitment to address the balance.

“They explained that with the current financial state there is not much they can do at this stage. They are trying to make some payments available for us on the weekend and in terms of the settlement this is something they are working on,” Waldron said later that day.

He disclosed that talks are underway to determine whether some of what is owed to the drivers could be settled in cash or kind.

Waldron said the aggrieved workers are to be paid weekly, however, the NSWMA has not been able to maintain that system leading to a major backlog, in excess of $100,000 for some drivers.

He said they were frustrated that no communication had been forthcoming as to how the outstanding payments will be handled.

“We are here saying we need a settlement on the outstanding money and we need a firm commitment from the government, not the general manager; this is out of his hands. We need the intervention from the government or a policy to address this matter right now,” Waldron said.

Efforts to contact Environment Minister Molwyn Joseph for comment and further information proved futile.

NSWMA General Manager Daryl Spencer was in a meeting when contacted and said he could not speak at the time.

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