Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 5th 2015 Contents A5
Thursday, March 5, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Public Service Transport Corporation
(PTSC) bus drivers are expected to return
to work this morning but will continue
their work-to-rule action until their
demands for salary negotiations are met.
The drivers agreed to return to work after
word that Labour Minister Errol McLeod
had agreed to meet with PTSC management
and the workers union at his Duke Street,
Port-of-Spain, offices today, vice president
of the Transport and Industrial Workers
Union (TIWU) Wendell Subiah said yester-
day. The meeting is tentatively scheduled
to start at 4 pm.
"The decision was taken after the minister
agreed to meet with the union and man-
agement. However, the work-to-rule action
will continue until our demands are met,"
Subiah told the T&T Guardian in a telephone
He warned that thousands of commuters
would still face some inconvenience as driv-
ers will not be coming out in full force.
Subiah said the drivers were upset because
of the disparity in the wage and Cost of
Living Allowance (Cola) and salaries paid
to drivers of all other state entities compared
to what is being paid to them.
He provided a copy of the breakdown in
Cola and salaries paid to drivers at Petrotrin,
TSTT, T&TEC, WASA, National Petroleum
PTSC drivers are the lowest paid, receiving
$152 a month in Cola and $44.50 an hour.
Drivers at Petrotrin are the highest paid,
receiving $1,817 in Cola a month and a min-
imum of $74.50 an hour.
Sabiah asked: "If you look at the list, the
second lowest Cola is $4.06, so why are
PTSC drivers being paid $0.95? That does
not make sense.
"Secondly, if you look at the salaries,
PTSC drivers are paid $44.50, which is the
lowest wage in the listing."
On Tuesday, hundreds of unsuspecting
passengers were left stranded when almost
2,000 bus drivers did not show up for work,
choosing instead to attend a meeting
between the union and management at the
Cascadia Hotel, St Ann s, in a show of sol-
idarity with the union.
Yesterday, drivers decided to begin work-
to-rule action, causing many passengers to
opt to use the water taxi service and maxi
taxi and taxi services from South and maxi
taxis and taxis along the East-West corridor
Buses to rural areas and the San Fernando
to Port-of-Spain coach service were not
available for the past two days.
The water taxi service responded by
adding another sailing time to its schedule,
making a total of 14 sailings to and from
A traffic pileup on the Priority
Bus Route yesterday added to the
woes of commuters who were
forced to use maxi taxis as an alter-
native mode of transportation due
to the industrial action taken by
Public Transport Service Corpora-
Route Two Maxi Taxi Association
PRO Christopher Serrette blamed
the situation on a roadblock in
Tacarigua and the fact that there
were now too many vehicles being
given authorisation to use the PBR.
"There are 1,150 authorised maxis
on the Bus Route and there are 3,500
private vehicles authorised to use
the Bus Route. The problem we have
is the traffic jam because of the extra
vehicles on the bus route. It defeats
the whole design of the Priority Bus
Route," Serrette said.
He said an early morning road-
block to check for overcrowded
maxis also caused major problems.
"I left home at 7.40 am and
reached City Gate at 9.20 am. This
is a trip that is supposed to take 40
minutes. This morning Licensing
Officers were stopping maxis to see
if maxis were over crowded. This
kept us back so much," Serrette said.
He said both drivers and com-
muters were caught unaware on
Tuesday when PTSC drivers initially
took action and this caused long
lines for maxis but said they had
made the adjustment by yesterday.
"When the public realised that
the bus service would be suspended,
there was a glut yesterday (Tuesday)
and that is what caused the problem.
The travelling community, they
noticed what went on yesterday and
came out earlier today," he said.
Nabeel Mohammed, a graphic
artist from Trincity who works in
Port-of-Spain, said he left home
later than he usually does to get a
maxi yesterday but still met a lot of
He added: "As late as 8 to 8.30
this morning the Priority Bus Route
was near standstill with traffic head-
ed west. Lots of people were just
standing by the roadside making
calls to their workplaces to let them
know they were going to be late.
"As soon as I saw the traffic, I
knew I was going to spend two or
more hours in it. I called my boss,
told him I couldn t make it in and
turned back to head home to work
A woman from St Joseph, who
only identified herself as Charlene,
said she got little problems to get a
maxi. Charlene said she left home
around 6.30 am and was able to get
a maxi within five minutes of arriving
on the PBR at Farm Road, St Joseph.
Hundreds of Tobago commuters were left strand-
ed yesterday as there was no Public Service Trans-
port Corporation service due to a work-to-rule
When the T&T Guardian visited the bus terminus
at Sangster s Hill, Scarborough, there were no buses
on the compound and the facility was locked.
Speaking about the action, an angry Keith Oscar,
74, of Mason Hall, called on the authorities to sort
the problem out quickly, noting that he relied heavily
on public transportation.
"They are supposed to sort out the problem. They
shouldn t allow the situation to deteriorate.
"They are blaming the drivers, they are blaming
everyone else, I mean that is not good. Tobago is too
small a place to allow that to happen. I have been
waiting for about half an hour, but there are times
when I wait for two and three hours. But today I
would have to walk to my destination," Oscar said.
Two primary school boys who were also at the
terminus explained that they missed school because
they were waiting for a shuttle from 7.30 am which
Meanwhile, at the PTSC Hub at Shaw Park,
mechanics, electricians, servicemen and PTSC drivers
were all on a "go slow."
But TIWU branch president for Tobago Ted Taylor
said their action was not a strike but a work-to-rule.
He said the workers were upset with how they were
being treated by management.
"The workers are fed up with the promises made
by the minister and management. We had a nego-
tiation meeting yesterday but it failed because they
are not willing to give the workers here a rate to live
on...a package to live on.
"We cannot go in the grocery or buy a vehicle or
live with 95 cents as our Cola allowance. We have
been promised a number of things here and to this
date nothing has been fulfilled here," Taylor said.
He described situations which he said were less
than sub-standard under which the employees were
working. He noted that the buses were deteriorating
and there were numerous safety violations while per-
sonal protective equipment was not forthcoming.
He added: "We need parts for these buses. We
need tools for these buses to be fixed. We need new
buses so what they are telling us is that they don t
care for the people of Tobago.
"Right now we have a number of issues pertaining
to Osha. We have more than 50 persons on this com-
pound here. It doesn t have an ambulance. It doesn t
have a sick bay. We have water flooding the entrance
gate where we clock our cards and we have to pass
through that every day. We are now saying enough
want level field
Union queries disparity in wages
PBR traffic jam adds to woes
Passengers board one of the
newly-acquired CNG buses at
City Gate, Port-of Spain,
yesterday. PTSC drivers were
on work-to-rule but there
was still a limited service
available to commuters.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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