By: Gavincia Clarke
(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- On Monday, February 18, 2013 a number of employees at the Solid Waste Management Authority assembled at the Memorial Square, Charlestown for a protest march that culminated the office of the Minister of Health, Hon. Mark Brantley, Bath Plain.
A small group gathered at the square shortly after 11:00 a.m. with placards stating their concerns and frustration about the conditions of their employment at the Solid Waste Management.
This media house spoke with Mr. Andrew Hendrickson, one of the employees. Hendrickson was of the view that by conducting the protest march, the voices of the workers would be heard. He was also convinced that the newly elected Health Minister, Hon. Mark Brantley would reach out to the workers and addressed the concerns they were bringing forward.
Hendrickson outlined that the concerns over which they were protesting included health and safety issues, salary, working conditions, poor maintenance and lack of security.
Hendrickson indicated that under the previous administration the workers never felt they had a voice. According to him their appeals in the past went ‘unheard’ and consequently failed to produce any tangible results.
Now under this new regime, Hendrickson felt that this was the appropriate time to express their dissatisfaction. He was of the view that under the Concern Citizens Movement administration a fresh approach to the plight of the workers would be taken.
Hendrickson said that in the past the workers at the site had expressed their concerns to management but management did not address their concerns or suggestions.
He elucidated some of their grievances and what he termed ‘serious maintenance matters’. He highlighted that they had been working with vehicles that had no indicator lights and as a result making it very difficult to communicate with other motorists. He also pointed out most of the trucks were not in operation. The loader stands, he stated were covered with oil, and they were facing poor lighting issues at the site.
In closing Hendrickson clarified that the march was not a strike but a protest action so that the voices of the workers at the Nevis Solid Waste Management could be heard.