Strike by Linden municipal workers paralyzes town

Municipal workers in Linden took to the streets on Monday following  a sit-in last Friday and they are calling  for better and timely payments of wages and salaries, the disbanding of the Interim Management Committee and the withdrawal of the suspension letter issued to the Town Clerk.

And  hundreds of residents have signed a petition which was delivered to the Local Government Ministry and  PNCR Leader Robert Corbin, among others.

Meanwhile, both municipal markets at Wismar and Mackenzie remain closed at great inconvenience to residents and at  great financial loss to stallholders.

In the meantime, garbage has been piling up in all corners of the town.
At a meeting with  Chief Labour Officer Yoganand Persaud last week Tuesday in Georgetown, it was agreed  that the workers would have resumed duties on Thursday  and the council would have paid salaries that were  due the same day.
“We are calling on the leadership of all three political parties which hold seats on the RDC to intervene immediately to address this matter and bring about a solution even if it means the removal of the

IMC and the installation of a new one,” said one resident and stallholder in the Mackenzie Market.
A visit to both markets revealed the  plight of vendors. With the locks in place on all the large metal doors, several vendors waited in vain for the town constables to show up and allow them in.

Mortimer Mingo

“I have had tremendous losses – I was sewing for a graduation last week and all my stuff were locked in there, I begged really hard but no one came to open so I could do my job,” said another vendor who was almost in tears. The story was the same for almost all the other stallholders.

“Since they been on strike we had blackout, I don’t know what happen to my perishables in there,” said another stallholder.

A few stallholders decided to erect structures at the front of the markets to sell their snacks but said that they too were greatly inconvenienced.

Contacted yesterday Regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo said that the RDC has taken note of the situation which exists in the municipality and they are concerned that the M&TC has not been carrying out their mandate to the taxpayers of the town by  providing goods and services as is required of them.  “We have noted the unhealthy state of the town with the piling up of garbage which is most pronounced in the business circle of the town. This has been occasioned by the withdrawal of the services of the employees from the head of the administration which also includes the security arm,” said Mingo.
He noted that the RDC at the request of the council had intervened and assisted with the collection of garbage in the business circle last week by making available its Bobcat.

“One of the issues I understand was the nonpayment of workers’ wages by the council and the RDC was most heartened when we learnt that on Tuesday the council put the necessary arrangement in place for the employees to be  paid their wages that was due to them since as we understand it that was one of the bones of contention by the workers . . .” However, he added, the RDC is at a loss to know why the employees of the council are still withholding their services.

However, on enquiring Mingo said he had been  informed that the administration of the M&TC was  making demands that they needed transportation to take the cheque to the bank so that workers can  be paid. “Note that the bank is less than 100 meters away from the M&TC,” Mingo remarked.

A number of vendors of Wismar market approached  Regional Vice Chairman Samuel Hooper seeking his intervention to have the market opened. This was conveyed to Mingo who  made contact with chief constable and enquired about the closure, and was told that he had received no instructions to open the market.

Contact was also made with  Town Clerk Patrick Innis who informed that the markets could not be opened because there were no personnel to do so. IMC chairman Orin Gordon was also summoned and was informed that the council had done all that was necessary for the workers to be paid and it was the administration’s responsibility to have the markets opened.
Mingo said that his attempts to engage the Ministry of Local Government proved futile but  contact was made with  Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon who expressed concern and gave assurances that he would get the relevant local government personnel and head of the workers union to bring about a speedy resolution.

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