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Sando workers to be relocated from condemned building

Thursday, April 10, 2014
General secretary of The Contractors and General Workers Trade Union Ermine De Bique-Meade, second from left, speaks to workers of the San Fernando City Corporation, Carib Street, San Fernando, during a protest to highlight the poor working conditions at the facility on Tuesday. San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein, second from right, was there to listen to her complaints. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH

San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein has given a commitment to relocate city workers from the condemned building at Carib Street and clean up the area. Hosein said the relocation to the ground floor of the new building, which is still under construction and the clean-up exercise should take place within two weeks. This undertaking comes one day after daily-paid workers downed tools to protest the poor working conditions and delays in the construction of a new building, which they say was started 20 years ago but is far from completion.



Hosein, along with deputy mayor Junia Regrello, who were on their way to another meeting stopped to talk to the demonstrators. 



He heard from general secretary of the representing the Contractors and General Workers Trade Union Ermine DeBique-Meade, who led the protest, that the workers were fed up with the conditions under which they were forced to operate. She reminded Hosein, a former City Corporation worker, that the building they were currently housed in was condemned by the Occupational Health and Safety Authority two years ago, when he was working there.


“The yard of the building is home to derelict vehicles and used tyres,” she added. DeBique-Meade said whenever it rained, the workers got wet. She said on a daily basis workers were unable to perform a full day’s work as “water cuts off at 9 am and workers are left with no water to drink or service the toilets.” She said employees in several departments, including transport, mechanical, stores, welding, electrical, vector control, sanitation workers, carpenters, watchmen and the tyre shop, were affected. 


“The structure of the building keeps changing. I don’t know if they even have a building plan for it,” said DeBique-Meade. “Not one part of it has ever been completed,” she said. Hosein agreed with them that the Carib Street building was a disaster. He later told the media: “This is the most amount of derelict vehicles I have ever seen in one place. The tyres are a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “Look at the state of the buildings. The conditions these workers have to operate under are terrible.


“We ask the public to keep their homes clean but what is happening in ours? We have to clean up our home first.” Hosein told the staff he would do all in his power to alleviate the situation as they were the ones who were on the frontline of operations to keep the city running smoothly. He promised to call an emergency council meeting to discuss the matter with the CEO Indarjit Singh, which he did. Yesterday morning, Hosein and Singh returned to the site and gave workers the good news.


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