Water supply in jeopardy as WASA workers down tools

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 04:30

The water supply throughout T&T is now under threat after 75 per cent of the Water and Sewerage Authority’s (WASA) water treatment plants were shut down last night.

The state-owned company is now being told to get its house in order.

At about 9.30 last night, approximately 75 per cent of WASA’s water treatment plants were shut down by workers led by Public Services Association president Watson Duke.

The workers, numbering close to 80, gathered outside WASA’s public education centre at Farm Road, St Joseph, soon after their action.

Shortly after 10 pm, a “crisis talks” meeting was called with WASA chairman, Romney Thomas, chief executive officer Alan Poon-King, other executive members and members of the board of directors.
That meeting lasted until 24 minutes past midnight and the workers were seen walking out of the building with Duke after its completion.

Some workers complained that they were threatened by their respective supervisors that they pay for last night would be withheld as a result of their action. However, the workers said it was the least of their concern, as serious health and safety matters need to be addressed urgently by the company.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian shortly after he emerged from the meeting, Duke said WASA has been neglecting its workers for months.

“Tonight (last night) the union met the management in a crisis talks in an effort to work with management to keep WASA afloat because of months of neglect by the management to the workers, in so far as providing requisite protective clothing and endangering the lives of the workers by neglect,” Duke said.

He assured Thomas that the union is willing to work with him to “get WASA back up and running.”
“WASA has shut itself down. It has nothing to do with the workers and the union, it has everything to do with the management,” Duke said.

“They have failed to supply the workers with the adequate clothing and devices to protect their health. People are dying on the job and persons are being pursued on the job by strange people. This is too much for the workers to bear.”

He reiterated that “the union is here to work with the management to get WASA up and running so as to provide a reliable portable water supply to the nation and it has nothing to do with workers, everything to do with management and their neglect and incompetence.”

Duke and the workers are expected to return this morning (Thursday) for further talks with WASA’s executive to see how best the situation can be resolved in quick time.
After the workers dispersed last night, WASA’s executive remained in a closed-door meeting until 1.20 am.

Approached by the T&T Guardian afterwards, Poon-King only assured that the country’s water supply would not be affected and added that he will make a further comment on the issue later today

SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Rhondor Dowlat)

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