UPDATE: Sick-out cripples Transport Board
FILE - Fairchild Street Bus Terminal in Bridgetown.
UPDATE [7:30 p.m.]:
The Transport Board combined a number of routes and rerouted buses in order to service areas hard hit by today's sick-out.
Excerpt from a statement from the Transport Board:
"The impact was felt most severely in the north of the island. As the day progressed we were able to improve on our service delivery island-wide. At this time, as we move into our late night services, we will continue to work with the resources available to transport the travelling public. We have combined a number of routes across the island as we have done previously, such as Connell Town-Josey Hill and Pie Corner-Boscobelle in the north and College Savannah-Society in the east to assist in getting persons home in the shortest possible time.
"Additionally, we are limiting the buses that will be on the routes which already have a heavy private public service vehicle component. Using this strategy, we anticipate being able to offer some level of ongoing service up to and including our usual midnight services."
UPDATE [9:00 a.m.]:
In an update to Loop News, marketing and corporate communications manager at the Transport Board, Lynda Holder said the problem has escalated.
"Even though this morning we would have had available 100 buses to go on the road, unfortunately, based on this situation approximately 20 drivers would have started duties. We deployed those 20 drivers as best we could to cover as much of the island as we could manage and we will continue with that plan of action until we see some sort of change.
"We would have engaged the private sector through the Transport Authority and they have agreed to help us in any way they can. We're just waiting for them to come back to us and let us know what assistance they can offer, but at this point in time, we are deploying the services as best as we can.
"We have been impacted heavily in the North but we are picking up there slowly."
She asked the public to be understanding of the situation, which she emphasised is out of the Transport Board's control.
Buses for the by-pass routes have been scheduled because they cover in some cases as many as six parishes and then the Transport Board will seek to cater to the "most vulnerable" routes.
Holder highlighted Highway 1 and Highway 7 as the start points and said they will work their way in as they get more services available.
Buses parked in the Fairchild Street Terminal.
UPDATE [8:00 am]: Loop News spoke to a number of Barbadians about how the action impacted them.
UPDATE [7:08 am]:
The following statement has been issued by the marketing and corporate communications manager at the Transport Board, Lynda Holder.
"The industrial action that has been affecting Barbados has affected the Transport Board this morning. We apologise for any delays but this is unavoidable and out of our control.
"Unfortunately we have no coverage at the north at this time. The other parts of the island are being covered by our Bridgetown location, but that is going to also encounter a number of delays.
"As we work to rectify this situation we ask that you bear with us because it is beyond our control and we are going to continue to do the best that we can with the limited resources we have on the road at this point and time."
Barbadians who depend on the Transport Board will face challenges getting around today.
This as workers there heed a call by a coalition of unions demanding that the Barbadian Government reduce the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which was increased from two percent to 10 percent on July 1.
The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU), began their action on Monday when they called on "all union members and other Barbadians who care about the direction in which this country is going... to join with us as we begin our protest".
They then urged members to engage in a sick-out yesterday, with some state-run entities being affected by the action, now Loop News understands that this action has intensified at the Barbados Transport Board today, leaving Barbadians stranded across the island.
While efforts to contact officials at the Board have been unsuccessful so far, information suggests that there are 10-15 drivers on the road at this time. An official within one of the largest unions who asked to remain unnamed said that members have shown that they are willing to stand with their unions and "updting".