Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 14th 2016 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 14, 2016
JUNE 13, 2016
June 13, 2016
June 13, 2016
June 13, 2016
June 13, 2016
President of the Industrial General and Sanitation
Workers Union (IGSWU), Robert Benacia, is calling
on Government to pay outstanding arrears to more
than 200 workers immediately or face heightened
Making the call as he stood surrounded by a large
crowd of workers outside the Beetham Landfill early
yesterday morning, Benacia said it was unacceptable
that the arrears were yet to be paid nine months after
this Government assumed office.
With the gates padlocked from as early as 7 am,
workers refused entry to dozens of garbage trucks
which were forced to park on the shoulder as they
awaited word from officials of the Solid Waste Man-
agement Company Limited (SWMCOL) on when
operations would resume.
Holding aloft placards and singing popular union
slogans, the workers called on Government to "pay
The demonstration also attracted the attention of
motorists heading into and out of Port-of-Spain as
most drivers slowed to find out what was happening,
with some others honking their horns in a show of
As a major traffic jam was created heading into
the capital, police officers were also on hand to ensure
there were no further disruptions to the traffic flow.
The gates to the landfill were opened around 11
am, leading to a resumption of normal operations.
Among the demands issued by the union head
was an immediate meeting with the minister in charge
of Public Utilities Ancil Antoine and Finance Minister
Colm Imbert; the provision of proper equipment and
tools for all workers; the retroactive payment of all
monies including wages and accrued benefits; and
that the arrears be paid in full and exempt from tax.
Asked why he was making such a demand, Benacia
explained that following a promise via letter last
November, some workers had "put themselves in
expense" which they were currently unable to ful-
fil.He said the request was not unreasonable as he
firmly believed the money owed to the workers "was
Members of the Arima Girls' Government School choir perform Try Everything during the second Biennial Red Cross Youth in Concert on Sunday at the Southern Academy for the Performing
Arts. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
a drop in the bucket for Government."
One truck driver who verbally indicated his support
for the workers but declined to reveal his name said,
"We understand what the workers are advocating
for, but it is an inconvenience for us as we have other
jobs that are now backed up."
However, he added that if the union s request to
meet with Government had been denied, then they
had a right to highlight the issue "however they
Contacted yesterday, SWMCOL officials said dis-
cussions were continuing between the company,
union and ministry.
SWMCOL apologised to the travelling public for
the lengthy interruption but said that operations at
the landfill resumed around 11 am.
Contacted on the matter, Public Utilities Minister
Ancil Antoine said he had no problem meeting with
the union. Asked if the union had proposed any
meeting, Antoine said once any overture was made
by the IGSWU, he would deal with it.
Referring to the Finance Minister s assurance that
all arrears would be paid by the end of June "across
the board," Antoine asked, "Is it that
they don t trust somebody?"
Informed about the union s demand
that the outstanding monies be exempt
from tax, Antoine commented, "A very
He said all government workers were
subject to the same social agreement
where they worked and paid taxes, and
in turn, Government would ensure pay-
ment of wages.
Antoine promised that he would raise
the union s concerns with the Finance
Workers at the country s largest
provider of waste management and
environmental protection services are
allegedly owed $9.5 million in back-
The union represents approximately
200 present and former employees.
The collective bargaining agreement
was signed on June 5, 2015, with officials
of the previous People s Partnership
administration, for the period 2011 to
2013. The payment of the outstanding
arrears was promised by November 30,
Sanitation workers demand backpay
ARIMA GIRLS TRY EVERYTHING
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