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Editors' Forum | NSWMA gets fewer industrial lawsuits as staff relations improve

Published:Friday | October 11, 2019 | 12:00 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter

The management at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) says it has repaired the damage caused by years of poor industrial relations at the State’s garbage-collection agency.

Speaking at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum last week, they said that a more cordial relationship now exists between management and staff.

NSWMA Executive Director Audley Gordon said that with the assistance of the board of directors, he has sought to lift not only the status of his servicemen, but their wages.

The entity has also engaged motivational speakers and training agencies to help staff attain various certification and has invested in new work gear to boost morale.

Management has acknowledged that in the past, the NSWMA paid out millions in industrial lawsuits, and since 2015, the agency has been strict in following labour laws.

“Most of the claims that we paid out already have to do with employment relations ... . In 2015, we had over$300 million in claims for employee-dispute settlement. We have cleared most of those and we really haven’t had any issues since then. Nothing new has arisen since then because we have ensured that we followed proper labour relations, process, and everything,” Chung told Gleaner editors and reporters.

So much has the staff climate improved that the managers said they are now able to retain more staff.

“We don’t have a high turnover of staff at the NSWMA. What we have is rotation. So you may not see your sanitation worker that you are accustomed to, [but] I am sure if you should visit the next district, you may see him on a different truck. We do have rotation. Some people come to work late, and if a truck is ready to move, we don’t say wait on these sanitation workers. No, we don’t operate like that,” Gordon said.

Some Jamaicans have become accustomed to receiving envelopes from garbage collectors during the festive season, however, while not bashing the practice, the NSWMA said there is no obligation from citizens to give funds to staff.

“That is something that they do. That has nothing to do with the NSWMA. You are under no compulsion. The resident must know that you contribute to those envelopes on your own volition. You are under no duress, and it’s not something the NSWMA is asking you to do,” said Gordon.

The executive director said persons who feel they are victimised for not wanting to contribute should report any such incident.