KINGSTON, Jamaica— Opposition Spokesperson on Transport and Works, Mikael Phillips is urging the government to immediately intervene in the dispute at the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Ltd (JUTC).
Disgruntled drivers from the company reportedly walked off the job on Wednesday in an action of protest over the the new compensation system at the state-run bus company.
The strike left crowds of commuters stranded in high trafficked hubs within the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region.
However, in a statement Thursday morning, Phillips said to his knowledge, the strike is not the result of dissatisfaction with the levels of salary adjustments under the compensation review programme but the failure by management to explain its implementation and the impact of the take-home pay of the drivers. He explained that the management at JUTC had not written to staff members explaining the new salary levels and the recovery of advances paid in retroactive amounts last December.
“One of the vexing issues is the recovery of the entire advance from the fortnightly paid drivers yesterday, instead of agreeing with their union on a recovery plan without the arrogance of ‘take it or leave it’. He said the strike was avoidable and that the suffering of commuters is unnecessary,” the Opposition spokesperson said.
Phillips said he sympathises with the cause of the workers but said “a better way must be found urgently to end the inconvenience of the travelling public, including the use of unlicensed and uninsured robot taxis, which poses a risk”.
The spokesperson further called on the Minister of Transport and Mining, Audley Shaw, and the JUTC management to get involved immediately, as he claims no meeting has been scheduled to resolve the issues and restore normality to the company’s operations and commuter services.