The following is a release from the Grenada Public Workers Union on the current situation with the nation’s transportation system as Bus Owners and Operators continue to keep their buses off the nation’s road due to differences with the Keith Mitchell-led government on the implementation of a new protocol to operate the service
Grenada Public Workers’ Union (GPWU) is extremely concerned that its members and workers may have difficulty to attend work come Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020.
The return of public transportation is still uncertain and the Union was reliably informed that our employer, the Government of Grenada has advised members and workers that from today Saturday, May 30th arrangements to transport Public Officers to and from work would be stopped immediately.
The members and workers being affected by the decision of our employer provides essential and frontline services in our health care system and at Ministries and Departments.
GPWU advise that the large majority of these members and workers do not own private transportation and may be stranded to attend work if transportation is not provided while public transportation is not reliably available.
This decision taken by our employer would adversely impact the means of our members to safely travel to work.
GPWU is not aware of any announcements informing that mutual agreement has been reached between the Bus Associations and Government of Grenada assuring the public that buses have agreed to be fully operational from Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020.
As a responsible Trade Union, GPWU believe that the health of our citizens, its human resource should be of paramount importance and patient care along with the necessary medical services should never be threatened or placed in a compromising position. As such, the availability of the human resource to provide quality health care to patients should be a guarantee and should not appear to be dependent on whether or not public transportation to attend work would be available.
In a similar manner it is also our opinion that provision of important quality public services should not be dependent on public transportation. It is our view that only when it is fully confirmed that public transportation will be safely and reliably available for the utilisation of the general public should such an announcement be made by our employer to our members and workers.
Further, transportation for night shift, week-ends and public holidays should not return to normal if the safety and health of our members and workers are considered as important.
GPWU commends and thanks the Bus Drivers who were on the frontline during the COVID-19 emergency period, for safely and efficiently transporting our essential, frontline members and workers on a daily basis to and from work.
We express appreciation on behalf of our members and workers who were pleased with your professionalism and quality services. Thank you.
Further, our employer must be commended for the vision to see the necessity to implement this needed service to our members and workers as COVID-19 has provided the opportunity to strengthen all systems. We must also thank our members who worked diligently to make this a reality.
GPWU takes this opportunity to call on Government to continue to act responsibly and make transportation available until we can confidently vouch that public buses are 100% available to allow safe passage to work.
We warn that the return to regular transportation on nights, week-ends and public holidays cannot be business as usual because the safety of workers must be treated as critical and valued. Be reminded that COVID-19 would be our new normal until the world achieves victory over this deadly disease.
It appears that you are a caring employer therefore, it is important that you demonstrate it and exhibit some level of flexibility in your operating procedures that puts people before profit and does not seem to suggest that you believe workers’ rights are quarantined.
GPWU is ready and willing to work for the best interest of all once we are treated in a just manner that respects the rights and freedom of workers.
WORKERS RIGHTS ARE NOT QUARANTINED