Union speaks out on trash backlog, Dockyard transport delays

  • BIU on garbage, Dockyard trans

  • BIU President Chris Furbert at this morning’s press conference. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

    BIU President Chris Furbert at this morning’s press conference. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

A backlog of garbage collections along with transport delays at Dockyard have been caused by Government’s lack of foresight and a failure to consult with all stakeholders, it has been claimed.

Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert this morning said that poor management decisions, made without any consultation with union representatives, were to blame for both problems.

Addressing the issue of uncollected garbage, which has been building up since the Cup Match holiday at the start of the month, Mr Furbert said that overtime for extra collections had been approved by Government up until Saturday, August 2.

But he said no further overtime was approved until last Thursday, August 7 — and that was rejected by staff who were looking to wind down for the weekend.

Mr Furbert said the backlog could have been cleared much sooner had Government approved overtime for the period immediately after the holiday — which staff were willing to carry out.

“The workers were wondering why there was no overtime offered to them on the Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday,” Mr Furbert said.

“Why did they wait until Thursday and Friday to offer them overtime?

“The overtime had expired for that month on the Saturday [August 2] I guess they had to go and get permission to work overtime Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and I guess it took them three days to get it authorised,” Mr Furbert said.

“So you know what? This is now Thursday, Friday, it’s the weekend so they weren’t interested.

“It was no disrespect to the Minister it was no disrespect to the country they just felt the timing of it could have been a whole lot better as it relates to them being offered the overtime right after Cup Match. They were ready to work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of that week.”

Mr Furbert also acknowledged that new trash trucks shipped in two years ago by the former Government did have a smaller capacity — but stressed that officials were aware of that fact and should have planned accordingly.

Mr Furbert said that collection crews did put in extra hours last night and that the backlog is expected to be cleared by the end of today.

“My understanding is they worked yesterday evening and they will probably work this evening making sure the trash is cleared up,” he said.

Mr Furbert then turned to concerns over the transportation system at Dockyard — and accused Government and the West End Development Corporation (Wedco) of failing to consult with the union in order to solve the problem.

Last week Wedco, which runs Dockyard, introduced a new mini bus shuttle service to ease congestion on public service buses which had previously been used to ferry tourists around the Island.

Mr Furbert acknowledged that buses had always struggled to cope with the number of passengers — but insisted that mini buses could have been used to compliment the existing arrangement rather than replace it completely.

And he questioned why Wedco and Government had introduced a new transport system in the middle of a busy cruise ship season - and had imposed the new scheme without consulting with public transport staff.

Referring to last week’s wave of complaints by visitors over transport delays, Mr Furbert said: “It was almost as though Bermuda was receiving cruise ships for the first time and we didn’t know what we were doing.”

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Published Aug 13, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 13, 2014 at 9:51 am)

Union speaks out on trash backlog, Dockyard transport delays

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