Waste haulers reach new tipping point with SSA
Dozens of waste haulers in Barbados have dumped any idea of supporting the state-run Sanitation Service Authority’s (SSA) tipping fee when it comes into force on Monday.
The Waste Haulers Group held a meeting last night and agreed they would not be buying any of the ticket books being issued by the SSA.
Instead, they are demanding that management comes to the negotiation table to discuss their concerns surrounding the fee, which was originally scheduled to take effect from April 1, but was postponed to May 4. It requires that haulers pay $25 plus Value Added Tax on every tonne, or part thereof, of refuse deposited at Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre Inc. (SBRC) at Vaucluse, St Thomas.
The authority has said the move was in keeping with the Sanitation Service Authority (fees) (Amendment) Regulation 1996, which provides that haulers purchase tickets from the SSA and that these tickets be presented to SBRC when they deliver the refuse.
However, independent trucker Adrian Browne today described the method of imposing the fee as “rubbish”, while spokeman for the Waste Haulers Group Dave Hinds of Hinds Transport said the authorities had shown them scant respect.
“It is not just a question of tickets and the cost of the thing, it is a question of the practical application,” Hinds told Barbados TODAY.
“We can’t give a driver $5,000 in tickets to drive around with. The drivers refuse to take it. They don’t want to accept responsibility for the tickets, because if they lost them, they have to pay for them,” he explained.
Furthermore, he complained that the SSA officials had refused to sit down with them to discuss how the haulers were going to open accounts and manage them, as well as any debt incurred with the authority as a result of the new scheme.
Hinds accused the management of adopting a unilateral attitude on this issue.
“We can’t work so. It is a security risk. Our drivers are not prepared to take the risk,” he said in light of recent robberies.
“All the guys are standing firm on this. Nobody is buying tickets,” he said, while pointing out that local companies, such as Chefette with 14 locations moved skips every day.
“Each skip is about four tonnes, which is about $100 per skip . . . [That amounts to] $1,400 per day for seven days, that is $10,000 a week in extra costs Chefette is going to have to pay,” Hinds calculated, while questioning whether “Chefette gine give a driver $1,400 every morning?”
The managing director of Hinds Transport also said there was a serious cash flow consideration, while noting that some businesses would be putting out $1,400 a day for 30 days.
“That amounts to $42,000. But one then has to wait another 30 days to receive that money and in the second 30 days, you are putting out another $42,000,” the businessman said, as he further labeled the move as inconsiderate.
Hinds also cited letters sent to the SSA requesting a meeting and outlining the concerns of the waste haulers, which he said had not received a positive response.
In a letter dated April 9, 2015 and addressed to Acting General Manager of the Authority Janice Jones, captioned Tipping Fee Implementation, the Waste Haulers Group, also proposed an alternative credit facility, which would allow each hauler to charge and pay for the tonnage being deposited.
The letter recommends a standard 30-days credit cycle and instead of the $25 per tonne charge, it suggests that the calculation be based on cumulative weights.
“So each billing period, we add the cumulative weights deposited at the facility and pay based on the cumulative weight. At that time, you can round up to the nearest tonne,” Hinds explained.
However, in a written response dated April 21, 2015, Acting SSA Manager Janice Jones wrote: “Dear sirs, I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 9 April, 2015. I am directed to inform you that we have assessed the information and should there be any changes, we will inform you.”
Efforts to reach Jones today proved futile, but sources told this newspaper that only about 30 books of tickets had been sold, which he described as an average number. Sources also said a number of major quarries were now diverting their business in a bid to avoid the new SSA charge.