Fri | Jan 22, 2021

They can’t do without you, McKenzie tells garbage men

Published:Thursday | February 27, 2020 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie (centre) stands with Delroy James (left) and Levi Hill, who have both been employed to WMP Waste Management Limited for 32 years. James and Hill were among 75 awardees at last Thursday’s award ceremony.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says that persons employed in solid-waste management will be receiving a 25 per cent salary increase that will take their daily rate from J$2,000 per day to J$2,500 per day effective in July.

McKenzie made the announcement while addressing Tuesday's Western Parks and Markets’ (WPM) Waste Management Limited’s inaugural long-service awards for 75 employees.

The event took place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.

“It’s the intention of this administration to ensure that those of you at the lower level of the salary ceiling will be brought up in a more meaningful way. You are doing something that many Jamaicans would not do, and if the country is ‘dutty,’ you can’t attract tourists to come here,” said McKenzie.

“Don’t let anybody fool you. They can’t do without you. You are important to Jamaica’s development, and if Jamaica must grow as a country, we have to grow as a clean country,” he added.

The minister’s announcement comes less than a year after he announced a 28 per cent salary increase for sidemen employed to the National Solid Waste Management Authority during his address at the 2019-20 Sectoral Debate last May. The present salary of J$2,000 per day was increased from J$1,600 last July per day.

During Thursday’s ceremony, NSWMA board director Norman Brown announced that 120 new garbage compactors were to be brought into the island by next year.

“That will ease the pressure on some of you. We are concerned about some of the hours you work because after you work 10 hours straight, you get fatigued and the safety level falls, and things can happen, so we’re trying to ensure that the working conditions are better,” he said.

*NOTE: An earlier version of this story had the wrong date for the staging of the event.