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SSA boss assures there’ll be no job losses

General Manager Rosalind Knight today gave her assurance that the Government’s outsourcing initiative would not affect jobs at the state-run Sanitation Service Authority (SSA).

Speaking during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Knight explained that with the private trucks now working in four parishes, the SSA’s trucks and crew have been reallocated to cover and maintain the island’s remaining seven parishes.

“Instead of the limited number of trucks being spread over 11 parishes, they are now confined to just seven parishes to help us to maintain collections once per week,” she pointed out, while emphasizing that the initiative would not affect the jobs of the SSA staff.

Her comments come on the heels of concerns raised by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) that the new waste collection plan, which took effect on Monday, will result in full privatization of the SSA.

The union has also expressed concern that at least 800 SSA workers could be sent home and that Barbadians would have to dig deeper into their pockets to cover the cost of waste collection.

“This is quite possibly a way for the Government to signal to the citizens of Barbados that they will soon, like education, be paying for garbage collection,” NUPW President Akanni McDowall last week warned, while signalling that his union was totally against privatization of the SSA and that workers there should not be treated like garbage.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that SSA workers are guaranteed their employment and that members of the public are not called upon to pay for the collection of garbage,” he said during a press conference last Friday.

However, Knight is encouraging Barbadians to support the new pilot refuse collection project.

Under the programme, four companies – Williams Liquid & Solid Waste Management Inc; Garbage Master Limited; Forde’s Freighting and Rental Services Inc; and Project Recycle Limited – have been contracted by the SSA to collect refuse from the parishes of St Lucy, St Peter, St John and St Philip, Mondays to Fridays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Williams Liquid & Solid Waste Management Inc, Garbage Master Limited and Forde’s Freighting and Rental Services Inc will cover the parishes of St Lucy and St Peter while Forde’s Freighting and Rental Services Inc and Project Recycle Limited will cover St Philip and St John.

Additionally, a skip programme is to be established, primarily in areas such as Eden Lodge and Nelson Street, St Michael; and Gall Hill and Silver Hill in Christ Church, where there were usually large pile-ups of garbage and communal dumping areas.

“What we are aiming to do is give everyone a collection once per week and avoid situations where people are not getting collections for two and three weeks,” Knight explained.

She urged members of the public to give the crews their full support, recognizing that the initiative has just started and would need to be tweaked as challenges were detected.

“They [private waste haulers] are new to the programme, so it is possible that they would miss a street or two. So, if you are having a problem in your area with collection, we simply ask that you call us and let us know so we can assist you better,” she urged.

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