Scrap iron workers say they are finding it difficult to pay $200 for scrap collectors’ registration stickers to operate legitimately.
The Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association started distributing 2023 stickers on Monday but several workers who went to collect them at the Claxton Bay Anglican School said they found it difficult to pay $200 for the stickers.
Sheldon Morraine said: “Collecting those stickers is a plus for vanmen. Now you can’t go and sell iron by certain yards if you don’t have a sticker but it is hard for us because now we have to find that $200 for a sticker. I don’t know if they could give us the sticker on hire purchase. They done say they want nothing in the yard if we don’t have a sticker.”
With the scrap iron export ban set to be lifted next month, Morraine said dealers are now paying them $500 per tonne rather than $1,000.
“I had no Christmas because I had no money. I planned to buy a bike for my son but I couldn’t buy that. There is a procedure with the sticker and you have to submit these documents,” he said.
“It’s hard because we making just $50 and $60 per day. We have to study about buying food, putting gas. Right now only one man buying iron and he buying $500 a tonne not $1,000.”
Nigel Guerra said many workers who could not pay their loans had to give up their vehicles. He said many are now renting vans.
Elijah Clement said he is waiting patiently for the scrap iron export ban to be lifted. Another worker, Isaiah Salazar, said hundreds of people are dependent on the industry and have been suffering over the past few months.
Claxton Bay representative for the Scrap Iron Dealers Association Razia Rea Mohammed said sticker distribution will continue for the rest of the week. She said 4,000 stickers will be issued from Claxton Bay alone.
Mohammed said only dealers seeking to be licensed need police certificates of character. Workers needing registration stickers must provide a copy of their ID, driver’s permit, certified copy and inspection certificate.
“There are over 25,000 people who have been without jobs. Men with families whose children are in school. We hope the exportation opens up soon,” she said.
The six-month ban on scrap iron exports took effect on August 12.