Latest update March 31st, 2023 12:59 AM
Jan 03, 2009 News
– T&HD retrenches workers
Now that the Berbice Bridge is up and running, some 40 workers employed by the Transport and Harbours Department in Berbice have been served with termination letters.
And there has been a ban on cars, minibuses and other small vehicles using the Berbice ferry. This was confirmed by Works Minister Robeson Benn, who said that there is now a bridge. The ban came into effect yesterday.
Minister Benn said that people using the bridge will pay a double toll when they approach the bridge from the western end. There is no toll collected for the journey from the eastern end.
However, since the opening of the bridge, motorists would pay the fare to cross the ferry and return across the bridge for free. Since the cost of the ferry is a mere $600, compared to the one-way charge of $1,100 per vehicle on the Bridge, Mr Benn said, the users were in effect travelling across the river for 25 per cent of the cost of the actual crossing via the bridge.
According to the letters of termination, termination comes into effect from January 14.
Kaieteur News was informed that the letters were dated December 30th, 2008 and were distributed to some workers on December 31 last, while others received theirs yesterday.
The letters read inter alia, “This letter is to inform you that as a consequence of the commencement of the Berbice Bridge, it is necessary to terminate your jobs, which will be effective from January 14, 2009. You will be further advised of any benefits which you are entitled to.”
These letters were signed by General Manager of the Transport and Harbours Department.
President of the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union, Clairmont Pearson, told Kaieteur News yesterday that he has received the very information, and is currently in the process of verifying the facts of the matter.
He explained that what the management of the department did was not in keeping with principles, since the authorities were advised by Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Robeson Benn, to consult with the union before undertaking any such action.
However, according to the union’s president, the management has totally disregarded the minister’s instruction, and has gone ahead with the process without holding any meeting with the union.
And yesterday, Minister Benn was insistent that no letters of termination had been dispatched. At the time, he was meeting with the head of the Transport and Harbours Department.
The minister said that he was planning the way forward with a view to releasing the workers, and that no plan had been completed.
However, this seems to be far from what Pearson said, as he claimed that he has at least six of the letters on his desk.
He also told Kaieteur News that he was made to understand that some workers from Parika and Bartica were also served with the same letters, but this is still to be verified.
Pearson, the union president, added that meetings were held with the management of the T&HD on numerous occasions, and the issue was discussed. It was agreed that a consultative process would lead first, since the management of the department had already expressed its intention to retrench some workers.
According to Pearson, when this was disclosed, the union had requested that management find replacements for the workers, but the Transport and Harbours Department had claimed that the workers were over aged and were not qualified for other positions.
This latest action by the department, Pearson said, will have serious consequences, since it affects the total livelihoods of the workers, who depend on their jobs for their daily bread.
He noted that, on many occasions, he would try to seek a meeting with Minister Benn, but was always told that the minister was busy.
Currently, the union has not been able to contact the management of the Transport and Harbours Department, since, according to Pearson, the union will first have to send a letter to the management requesting a meeting, and this, he said, can take days.
According to the union’s president, by Monday, the union should be in receipt of the facts of the matter, and to get to the bottom of the situation to the satisfaction of the workers.
PPP’s strongest oil law!
Mar 31, 20232022/23 West Indies Championship… Kaieteur News – The Leeward Islands Hurricanes produced a patience-driven performance on the second day of their fifth round 2022/23 West Indies...
Mar 31, 2023
Mar 31, 2023
Mar 31, 2023
Mar 31, 2023
Mar 31, 2023
Kaieteur News – The PPP needs the PNC and the PNC needs the PPP. The two cannot exist without each other. There is... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]