Although the National Maintenance Training and Security Company Limited(MTS) was called in to sanitise the government printer on Tuesday, the checking and binding staff had already walked off the compound located in Frederick Settlement, Caroni earlier in the day.
One worker who spoke to PSA Media on the day the protest happened and asked to remain anonymous said that the decision to remove themselves from the obvious hazard was taken when two supervisors who worked in the binding and checking section had asked for the working area to be sanitized. She said that the workers were informed by the head of the government printery that they had no money to sanitise one work area over and over again. She pointed out that there were about eight to nine binding and checking staff members present on that day and everyone decided, “Enough was enough when coming to their health and safety.”
“We were concerned about the lack of consideration that the company’s management team was showing for the welfare of some workers in the building,” the worker noted.
The worker added that while MTS staff was continuously wiping and cleaning the upstairs of the building where the administrative staff including the managers worked, the downstairs where the manual labour was taking place was neglected. She said, “On many occasions, the MTS staff who were responsible for cleaning and maintenance could be seen using just one cloth to sanitise the entire building and the staff was not comfortable with that. She said that the checking and binding section have asked the management to have a counter that they use regularly cleaned more often and they have been ignored.”
When speaking to PSA Media, the worker also disclosed that three of her co-workers had recently contracted the Covid-19 virus and a further four had been sent on quarantine. She said that this number does not include those from the other departments at thdownstairs section of the building and only includes the staff members that she was working with. She went on to lament, “On many occasions, workers knew long after the fact that one of their peers had contracted the Covid-19 virus.” She said that they preferred that management give a faster update as to who contracted the virus, so workers can have themselves tested earlier and if needed have themselves quarantined and not spread the virus to others at the workplace and even to those at home.
However, the worker noted that the refusal to work in an unsafe environment and subsequent removal of self from the compound was supposed to take place again on Wednesday if there was no major sanitization of their work areas taking place. On Wednesday she returned the call to PSA Media stating that checking and the binding staff was called by management and told to remain at home since the building would be intensely sanitized today.