Minister of Public Utilities, Ancil Antoine, on Thursday, assured citizens that all plants operated by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) were fully functional and that no workers were on strike.
Addressing Thursday’s Post-Cabinet briefing, Minister Antoine said no workers were engaged in strike action on Thursday, having met with WASA Chairman Romney Thomas, WASA CEO Alan Poon-King and other board members prior to the media briefing to confirm.
He acknowledged that there was “action by workers” on Wednesday night which affected water supply in parts of North and East Trinidad but confirmed that all plants were now back up and running.
“Last evening, WASA workers and operators called for a meeting with management to discuss health and safety issues. Workers were concerned about their safety, they wanted repairs to air-conditioning units, coveralls and face masks.”
“During the course of the night the chairman of WASA, along with the CEO, Rodney Thomas, met with Public Servants Association (PSA) President Watson Duke on the issue.”
“They wanted repairs to the chlorine tanks, the extractor fans and they wanted communication from remote areas based on security issues.”
“The discussions resulted in some action by workers, but the plants were restarted and the distribution is back up and running.”
Antoine condemned the actions of workers and assured that it would not happen again.
“The situation that occurred yesterday is not to be continued as WASA is an essential service and under the Industrial Relations Act, these types of actions should not be taken.”
“Also if there are OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety) concerns, there are processes to be followed and WASA workers are aware of this.”
Antoine added that managers have put things in place to deal with the situation and ensure that it does not reoccur.
Antoine added that he has spoken to National security Minister Edmund Dillon to increase police patrols in areas surrounding WASA stations and employees.
On Wednesday night voice messages circulated via social media warning of a nationwide shutdown of the country’s water supply and strike action by workers.
Media reports said workers conducted strike action on Wednesday night outside of the WASA headquarters in St Joseph, which leads to a meeting with heads of management over health and safety issues.
On Thursday evening around 3:00 pm, sources reported that the Maraval Water Treatment Plant was down and was being repaired.