Union fears job losses at City Dump
The Bahamas Public Service Union(BPSU)fears hundreds of job could be lost at the public garbage disposal site as a result of the government’s privatization plans, its president toldThe Nassau Guardian.
BPSU president John Pinder said 262 jobs might be in jeopardy if the government forges ahead with the process. However, Environment Minister Earl Deveaux has rejected this suggestion by Pinder.
“Our concern is that we have been, over the last eight years or so, trying to get the government to regularize those persons who work in Environmental Health and throughout the public service with five or more years of continuous service,”said Pinder.
“If they go ahead with this plan, the government can very well say they do not have to protect those persons because they are not civil servants, they are relief workers and part-time workers even though they are working 40-plus hours per week.”
Pinder’s comments yesterday came after a meeting with Deveaux on the issue.
Pinder said that before any deal is sealed for the privatization of trash collection services, the government should ensure those jobs are protected.
The Nassau Guardianhas confirmed that six to seven bids have been submitted to the government for the privatization of the New Providence solid waste management facility, which would include the collection of garbage.
When asked about the issue, Deveaux said there would be no job cuts.
“We advised him that we were in receipt of proposals from Bahamian firms expressing interest in the collection of residential and commercial solid waste and the management of the New Providence landfill. We also indicated to him that there were expressions of interest to convert the waste to energy,”he said.
“We felt it our duty to advise him of this interest and we advised him that the matter had not been brought before the government for a determination. But because we were aware of tension, speculation and unrest, we thought he should know.”
Deveaux said he confirmed to the union that there would be job losses in order to ensure that any element of”rumor mongering or speculation”would be reduced.
The unions fears remain, however.
A particular concern expressed by Pinder regarded workers classified as loaders who drive garbage trucks. He claimed that a number of them are performing additional functions at work but are still classified as loaders.
Pinder described this as”unfair.”
Deveaux said the union has been advised that he would meet with the Department of Environmental Health staff on Monday, as is normally done at the beginning of a new year, to address matters concerning the department.
“Any attribution about the loss of jobs or the potential loss of jobs resulting from this meeting is erroneous,”said Deveaux.