The water supply throughout the country is now under threat after 75 per cent of the Water and Sewerage Authority’s (WASA) water treatment plants were shut down on Wednesday night.
As a result of the shutdown, Minister of Public Utilities, Ancil Antoine, is monitoring the situation and is prepared to bring in soldiers to supply water to people.
At about 9.30 on Wednesday night, approximately 75 percent of WASA’s water treatment plants were shut down by workers led by Public Services Association (PSA)president, Watson Duke.
The workers, numbering close to 80, gathered outside WASA’s public education centre at Farm Road, St Joseph, soon after their action.
Shortly after 10 pm, a “crisis talks” meeting was called with WASA chairman, Romney Thomas, chief executive officer Alan Poon-King, other executive members and members of the board of directors.
That meeting lasted for 24 minutes past midnight and the workers were seen walking out of the building with Duke after its completion.
Some workers complained that they were threatened by their respective supervisors that their pay for Wednesday night would be withheld as a result of their action. However, the workers said it was the least of their concern, as serious health and safety matters need to be addressed urgently by the company.
Duke said WASA has been neglecting its workers for months.
Duke stated, “Tonight (Wednesday night) the union met the management in a crisis talks in an effort to work with management to keep WASA afloat because of months of neglect by the management to the workers, in so far as providing requisite protective clothing and endangering the lives of the workers by neglect.”
He assured Thomas that the union is willing to work with him to “get WASA back up and running.”
“WASA has shut itself down. It has nothing to do with the workers and the union, it has everything to do with the management,” Duke said.
“They have failed to supply the workers with the adequate clothing and devices to protect their health. People are dying on the job and persons are being pursued on the job by strange people. This is too much for the workers to bear.”
He stated, “the union is here to work with the management to get WASA up and running so as to provide a reliable portable water supply to the nation and it has nothing to do with workers, everything to do with management and their neglect and incompetence.”
Duke and the workers are expected to return on Thursday morning for further talks with WASA’s executive to see how best the situation can be resolved in quick time.
After the workers dispersed last night, WASA’s executive remained in a closed-door meeting until 1.20 am.