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Hot mix plant workers walk off the job

More than 50 employees at the government’s hot mix plant withdrew their labor for several hours yesterday morning in protest of not receiving hazardous pay, according to the Bahamas Public Services Union(BPSU).

BPSU President John Pinder said yesterday that the government’s failure to release the money to the workers was the”breaking point.”

The Nassau Guardianunderstands that the workers are seeking money they say is owed from as far back as 2009.

“These workers are irate and I am trying to prevent industrial action,”said Pinder.

He explained that the hot mix plant employees work in a high-risk area and they depend on the money in question to pay for health insurance.

“Everyday they breathe in toxins from the hot mix. They are trying to get the hazardous pay to get good health insurance. And because health insurance is so expensive, they depend on the hazardous pay to make up the premiums,”said Pinder.

While the workers returned to their posts after the short protest, Pinder said he has not ruled out the possibility that industrial action might occur. This could led to the suspension of work at several government projects. The plant is responsible for producing asphalt for roads.

When contacted yesterday, Public Works Minister Neko Grant and Public Works undersecretary Elizabeth Keju said they were not aware of the situation.

Charles Greene, BPSU shop steward at the plant, is expected to address the issue today at a news conference scheduled to take place in front of the Ministry of Public Works.

“There was never any agreement to withhold the people’s hazardous pay,”Pinder said.

“There was an agreement to hold back increments and promotions in this budget year, but no mention of hazardous pay. And at present, the government is not giving it to them consistently and most of them are losing their health insurance coverage.”

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