Truck drivers vent frustration with cement company

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Truck drivers are calling on Argos Cement Antigua to get its act together as they allege that the company’s current mode of operation is time consuming and ineffective.
One of the drivers, Leroy Jimmie told our newsroom on Monday that the Crabb’s Peninsula plant has been operating without its full complement of machines and this is causing severe delays.
Jimmie, who said he has been working for the National Housing Development and Urban Renewal Company Ltd for over a year, told OBSERVER media that he arrived at the plant at 9:20 am to collect three pallets of cement for the Dredge Bay housing project and up to six hours later he had not received the aggregate.
“The service is poor; the machine [broke] down and they are packing the cement by hand. They only have one forklift operating and the guys took their lunch at 12 o’clock. The service just bad, bad, bad and it is weeks now that the machine [broke] down and they not trying to fix it,” Jimmie said.
The truck driver explained that when he arrived after 9 am, he was seventh in the queue and at 3:45 pm, he was only at number three.
Jimmie, who has been driving for 30 years, said he has never had to wait this long for cement and he is frustrated with the company that seemingly has no respect for time.
“There is no consideration for customers. You can’t have a business where you are the only cement factory and you have one forklift working; you are packing cement by hand during the day and you don’t let the guys work overtime and on weekends so you have cement in abundance. So, we are here sitting for them to load the pallets and then to pack the truck,” Jimmie said.
He explained that it was only after another driver left the line “out of frustration” that he was able to get the 216 bags of cement, after 4:15 pm.
Another driver said yesterday that while he is used to the many delays, they are impeding his ability to carry more loads per day.
Yesterday, this reporter sat at the plant for an hour and 25 minutes observing the operations. Upon arrival there were seven trucks waiting on cement and one was being loaded. However, over the course of observation only that truck left with cement. The next truck in the queue did not receive the first pallet after 31 minutes of waiting to be loaded.
There were three workers standing at the end of the conveyor belt and were manually loading cement onto the pallet.
Our newsroom made contact with the local plant manager who said that he was not authorised to speak to the media.
He, however, contacted General Director for Agro Antilles, Federico Mariscal, who is based in St Maarten, but he said that his boss had “no comment”.

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