Saturday 17 November, 2018

POLL: No relief for BSS workers, staff off the job once more

Workers at the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) outside of their Baobab Tower office last Monday, October 8. (File)

Workers at the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) outside of their Baobab Tower office last Monday, October 8. (File)

There is still no relief for workers at the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS).

Staff members of the BSS were off the job last Monday, after the situation surrounding a "pungent sewage-like" smell which had been affecting them for nearly two years became overwhelming.

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When Looped visited their Baobab Tower office in Warrens, St Michael then, they described horrifying symptoms which were affecting their physical and financial health, as they had to seek medical treatment to address the issue. In fact, one staff member had to seek urgent medical attention on that day, after she collapsed. 

Now Loop News understands that workers are off the job once again today, as the stench continues to affect them despite investigations into the matter.

Director of the BSS, Aubrey Browne, told Loop last Tuesday that they were working on addressing the matter that week:

"The next course of action now would be to go into the ceiling and investigate the plumbing work and everything to get to the source of the issue... That would require closing the office or doing work on the weekend when it wouldn't inconvenience staff."

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That work was carried out on Thursday, when the BSS's fifth-floor office was closed, however Shop steward with the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Kimberly Agard, told Loop this afternoon that the smell continued to affect staff on Friday and now today:

"They did some investigating on Thursday, but persons were still experiencing discomfort on Friday and this morning before 8:30 we had the stench again, so we went outside."

The shop steward added that workers were told that pipes which were not on the schematics had been sealed and that they had hoped that this action would have resolved the issue:

"They discovered some pipes that were not on the original plans and they sealed the pipes since they do not know the purpose of them.

"They said that by sealing the pipes they hoped it would have brought a solution to the problem, but it didn't today."

Do you think Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) workers should be allowed to stay off the job until the environmental issue is resolved?

Yes! You cannot put people's health at risk.
No! This is an important agency and work should continue.
I'm not sure.

While employees have been told that some of them will be relocated to the sixth-floor, management was not available to confirm this when Loop reached out to them.

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