In a hole

Grave diggers and management of the Sanitation Authority are in a hole — again.

Barbados TODAY understands the problem is over the official duties of two general labourers in relation to the grave diggers’ job. Sources told this newspaper that the soil technicians were insisting that the general labourers must first assist them in doing their work, and if any time remained, they could clean around the graves. However, the general labourers have been reportedly doing the opposite.

Our informant told us that after a strike last year, the board of management of the SSA allowed sub- contracted workers to assist the grave diggers, but investigations revealed that there was no provision in the public service for any “assistant to grave diggers”.

“They now have to create a new job category for an assistant. The grave diggers at Christ Church, St. James and St. Philip don’t have anybody assisting them, why at Westbury?” asked a source within the SSA.

The informant suggested that the management was allowing the soil technicians to convince it they needed assistants to help them do their jobs. Barbados TODAY has learnt that grave diggers get a retainer fee like a lawyer.

“Even if there is no work, they are paid $395 to do nothing. Some $120 is now being charged by the grave diggers to cover a grave and $60 per foot for any extra feet beyond what was stipulated by the cemetery,” the source added.

An official within the SSA felt that the Government was embracing all of the grave diggers’ demands and it was not the way to go. In a letter which SSA General Manager Stanton Alleyne wrote to general labourer, Troy Clarke, the employee’s assignment was extended.

The document, a copy of which Barbados TODAY was able to obtain, informed Clarke that his temporary acting job hand assignment as general labourer had been extended from April 2 to June 29, this year at the Westbury Cemetery.

The worker was also told that his acting salary/ wages remained and he would continue to be accountable to the superintendent of cemeteries, Emmeric Cummins.

The Superintendent declined comment on the matter. (EJ)

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