Wage Increases for NSWMA Truck Drivers

The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) have signed a Heads of Agreement giving truck drivers wage increases over a four-year period. He was speaking at the signing ceremony, held on August 28 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in St. Andrew. “I believe that this is a good way forward. Let this signing be a signal, not to the end of anything but to the continuing of a fight to get better living conditions, better working conditions and establishment of benefits for the people who carry the frontline of our operations,” said NSWMA Executive Director, Audley Gordon. Story Highlights The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) have signed a Heads of Agreement giving truck drivers wage increases over a four-year period.“I believe that this is a good way forward. Let this signing be a signal, not to the end of anything but to the continuing of a fight to get better living conditions, better working conditions and establishment of benefits for the people who carry the frontline of our operations,” said NSWMA Executive Director, Audley Gordon.He was speaking at the signing ceremony, held on August 28 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in St. Andrew.The agreement covers the period April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2021 and deals with wages and allowances.There was also a commitment to work towards making the drivers, sanitation workers and Enforcement Officers a part of the Public Sector Establishment.For his part, President of the UAWU, Senator Lambert Brown, said the union is “appreciative of the fact that we could find common ground”.Senator Brown also gave his commitment to work with the NSWMA to make the drivers and the others a part of the Public Sector Establishment.Meanwhile, NSWMA Board Chairman, Dennis Chung, who was also a signatory to the agreement, said the Board fully supports the workers, and they should get the best tools and the best compensation.The agreement was also signed by union delegates from the NSWMA’s regional offices. read more

Disaster Response Team Primed and Ready to Assist Bahamas – PM Holness

Story Highlights Jamaica has mobilized the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to be dispatched to assist the hurricane-ravaged, neighbouring islands of the Bahamas. Prime Minister Andrew Holness who has pledged to support the Bahamas in the wake of the disaster has placed the DART on standby to be on the ground in Abaco and Grand Bahama, the two worst-hit areas. Prime Minister Holness has been in constant touch with the Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hon. Hubert Minnis who indicated that Bahamian officials are currently doing their assessment. Once the initial assessment is complete Jamaica will be able to provide assistance. Jamaica has mobilised the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to be dispatched to assist the hurricane-ravaged, neighbouring islands of the Bahamas.Prime Minister Andrew Holness who has pledged to support the Bahamas in the wake of the disaster has placed the DART on standby to be on the ground in Abaco and Grand Bahama, the two worst-hit areas.Prime Minister Holness has been in constant touch with the Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hon. Hubert Minnis who indicated that Bahamian officials are currently doing their assessment. Once the initial assessment is complete Jamaica will be able to provide assistance.Prime Minister Holness has also offered condolences to the Government and people of the Bahamas on the lives lost as a result of the catastrophic category 5 Hurricane Dorian.The hurricane has been pounding the Bahamas since Sunday (September 1) slowly meandering across the islands. Officials have reported the death toll at 5, and there have been loss of electricity and extensive damage to infrastructure.DART, which consists of members of the Jamaica Defence Force, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and other response agencies will help to address issues of need in search, rescue, assessment and restoration of infrastructure damage, offer relief supplies and assist in rebuilding efforts.In the meantime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in constant contact with the consulate in the Bahamas and updated on the Jamaican population resident in the Bahamas.The Prime Minister has urged Jamaicans to continue to pray for the people of the Bahamas and stand ready to help when the assessments are complete. read more

Jamaica To Undertake Mosquito Sterilisation Pilot Project

Come next year, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will be embarking on a pilot for the Sterilised Insect Technique (SIT), as part of efforts to minimise mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue.Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the initiative will be spearheaded by the Mosquito Control Research Unit, which has been established in conjunction with the University of the West Indies (UWI).The technique is an environmentally friendly pest-control method involving mass-rearing and sterilisation, via radiation, of target pests, such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito.He explained that the process also involves systematic area-wide release of the sterile males by air, over defined areas, resulting in no fertilisation when they mate with wild females, thereby leading to a decline in the mosquito population.The Minister was speaking at a Pan American Health Organization PAHO workshop at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Monday (October 7).Dr. Tufton said Jamaica has had a dengue threshold that has been classified as an outbreak for the better part of 2019, noting that this is “not that normal”.He contended that Jamaica, like the rest of the Caribbean, must figure out how to deal with the prevalence of mosquitoes and their increasingly aggressive nature.“We all have that issue… and because we’re a tourism destination, it is even more important. So [based on] the links between the tourism and domestic population, it threatens our industry, our primary foreign exchange earner; primary job creation activities; [and] it threatens our domestic life in terms of the dengue issue and our response to that,” Dr. Tufton said.Director of the Ministry’s Vector Control Programme, Dr. Sherine Huntley Jones, told JIS News that Jamaica is partnering with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to explore the use of SIT as part of the country’s integrated vector management programme.She noted that “Jamaica is the only Caribbean country that will be piloting the SIT”.Meanwhile, Dr. Huntley Jones said the Ministry has commenced the process of rearing mosquitoes, and standardising the requisite procedures and techniques.“We’re also conducting surveillance in the pilot communities, because we have to be able to estimate the wild population to be able to match that with the one that we’re going to be releasing. So we have been doing extensive surveillance in the areas selected and we have been working on our inventory,” she added.The two-day PAHO Workshop, titled ‘Project Concepts on Health and Climate Change – Green Climate Fund’, brings together stakeholders from across the Caribbean and representatives of the Green Climate Fund to discuss regional project concepts on climate action for the health sector. Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the initiative will be spearheaded by the Mosquito Control Research Unit, which has been established in conjunction with the University of the West Indies (UWI). Come next year, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will be embarking on a pilot for the Sterilised Insect Technique (SIT), as part of efforts to minimise mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue. Story Highlights The technique is an environmentally friendly pest-control method involving mass-rearing and sterilisation, via radiation, of target pests, such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito. read more