Re­turn to ser­vice

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News - By TRE GREAVES tre­g­[email protected] na­tion­news.com

ALL PUB­LIC SER­VICE VE­HI­CLES (PSVS) are ex­pected back on the road to­day af­ter a day of protest ac­tion which left hun­dreds of adults and school­child­ren stranded.

The newly-formed Pub­lic Ser­vice Ve­hi­cle Work­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (PSVWA), which was be­hind the strike ac­tion for the sec­ond time in six days, will fi­nally meet with the

Trans­port Au­thor­ity at the Con­sti­tu­tion River Ter­mi­nal to­day at 10 a.m.

The an­nounce­ment was made by pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer of the PSVWA, Fabian Wharton, af­ter the group met at the Na­tional Union of

Pub­lic Work­ers (NUPW) head­quar­ters, Dalkeith Road for more than seven hours.

“The rea­son we took so long to de­cide what we are go­ing to do next is be­cause there is gen­eral feel­ing among the mem­ber­ship of

‘here we go again.

They are not go­ing to meet us’. That is the gen­eral be­lief.

“[But] we have been given the as­sur­ance that the meet­ing is def­i­nitely on, so we will at­tend that meet­ing and es­tab­lish pro­to­col go­ing for­ward,” Wharton said.

Their ap­pre­hen­sion came af­ter a sched­uled meet­ing on Mon­day with the Trans­port Au­thor­ity was called off. It was among the agreed terms af­ter op­er­a­tors staged a sim­i­lar ac­tion last Wed­nes­day.

The ac­tion, how­ever, was not sup­ported by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Pub­lic Trans­port Op­er­a­tors or the Al­liance Own­ers of Pub­lic Trans­port, and this led to the for­ma­tion of PSVWA.

Is­sues

Some of their is­sues in­clude the five-minute rule in the Con­sti­tu­tion River Ter­mi­nal, the fuel tax, lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­spect, sat­u­rated routes and the cost of new uni­form shirts.

Dur­ing the press briefing last night at the NUPW, where he was sup­ported by other mem­bers in­clud­ing Michael Farrell, Shawn Best, Ri­cardo Forde and Rod­ney Bel­lamy, the PRO ex­plained that they now paid $25 for the Ox­ford shirts, and ques­tioned why they had to pay over $60 for the same shirt, which would have a crest.

Wharton ex­plained that their de­ci­sion to pull driv­ers off the road and dis­rupt the first day of the school term was a tough de­ci­sion to make, hence why it was only an­nounced at

2 a.m. yes­ter­day.

While he could not say how many ve­hi­cles and work­ers were in­volved in the ac­tion, he re­vealed that com­muters along the West Coast, South Coast, Sargeant Street in St John and The Ivy in St Michael were most im­pacted. He added there were “mod­er­ate” ef­fects on the Bush Hall and Jack­son routes.

How­ever, the MID­WEEK NA­TION team ob­served peo­ple in Sam Lord’s Cas­tle in St Philip, Su­gar Hill and Horse Hill in St Joseph, and Dash Val­ley in St George, who also had ma­jor dif­fi­cul­ties.

It is un­der­stood that about seven minibuses and route taxis op­er­ated from Speight­stown yes­ter­day, more than 20 in the Con­sti­tu­tion River Ter­mi­nal about ten in the Cheap­side ter­mi­nal.

Wharton said he was not shocked by the re­sponse.

“We were not sur­prised. Since what some peo­ple call the wild­cat strike

[last week], we recog­nise that there are a lot of frus­trated PSV op­er­a­tors in the is­land and if they have to be called into ac­tion, they will be ready.”

He said he hoped not to have to ask driv­ers to pull off the road again be­cause of the im­pact such ac­tion had on the econ­omy.

“This is a tool I would hope I don’t have to use any­time in the near fu­ture . . . be­cause at the end of the day, I am hop­ing that there is a new dis­pen­sa­tion where we can have con­sul­ta­tion which will re­duce con­fronta­tion,” he added.

In a re­lease, chair­man of the Trans­port Au­thor­ity Ian Est­wick ex­pressed sur­prise at the strike ac­tion.

Sen­si­tive

“As the reg­u­la­tory body, our re­mit is with the per­mit hold­ers. We are sen­si­tive to the rep­re­sen­ta­tion made to us and, there­fore, agreed to meet with the newly formed group. I know that at this time it’s a very emo­tion­ally charged cli­mate with press­ing is­sues.

“How­ever, it is through lis­ten­ing that is­sues can be re­solved and not through emo­tional re­sponses. We are pre­pared to sit and have rea­soned dis­cus­sions with the new group,”

Est­wick said.

Min­is­ter in the Min­istry of Trans­port, Peter Phillips, who met with the protesters last week, said he would not be at to­day’s meet­ing, but looked for­ward to hear­ing the out­come.

Mean­while, man­ager of mar­ket­ing and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the Trans­port Board, Lynda Holder, was not able to say how their buses picked up the slack, but was thank­ful not all of the PSVS were off the road. She added they were manag­ing with the re­sources they had.

Please see also Pages 4 and 5.

(Pic­ture by Reco Moore.)

PUB­LIC RE­LA­TIONS OF­FI­CER of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Ve­hi­cle Work­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, Fabian Wharton (right), speak­ing to the me­dia last night. Look­ing on are col­leaguesShawn Best (cen­tre) and Michael Farrell.

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