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Show trash collectors more respect – BIU president

Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Members of the public should show trash collectors more respect, according to the president of the Bermuda Industrial Union.

Chris Furbert also said that those who have criticised collectors who downed tools recently should instead be concerned over their lack of resources.

“The workers at Marsh Folly and so many other essential services workers have worked through the pandemic to make sure that the people of Bermuda were kept safe.

“When Bermuda was on lockdown your trash was still being collected,” said Mr Furbert.

“Please remember that all of our essential service workers also have families that they had to leave at home during the lockdowns so that they could take care of the people of Bermuda.”

Mr Furbert was speaking after trash collectors took industrial action last week when their fleet of working waste trucks was reduced to two vehicles.

The action left trash in Zone 5, which includes St George’s, Hamilton Parish and all of Smith’s east of Devil’s Hole Hill, uncollected.

Trash collectors returned to work last Monday after the Ministry of Public Works provided them with six additional trucks.

But the public works ministry said that matters had only been “partially resolved” and that trash collection could still be delayed.

Mr Furbert said that the BIU had documented concerns of garbage collectors over the last 10 to 15 years – all of which remained unresolved.

These included lack of maintenance for garbage trucks, inappropriate items such as medical and animal waste being placed in the trash and several health and safety concerns.

He said: “These are very real issues that have not been addressed for workers who are considered as essential services workers under the law but whose issues are not treated as essential.”

Mr Furbert added: “The workers are being very frank when they say that we have had meetings with ministers and permanent secretaries under different governments but somehow their issues remain unresolved and they are frustrated that things are not getting better.”

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Published August 02, 2021 at 7:46 am (Updated August 02, 2021 at 7:42 am)

Show trash collectors more respect – BIU president

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