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JM | May 11, 2022

Holness appeals to NWC workers to get back to job as unions, utility agree on return to normalcy tonight

Juanique Tennant

Juanique Tennant / Our Today

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness (Photo: JIS)

Ahead of the signing of a back-to-work order for National Water Commission (NWC) workers late this afternoon, Prime Minister Andrew Holness today (May 11) appealed to individuals participating in the now two-day old industrial action, which has disrupted water supply across the island, to get back on the job.

Under the back-to-work agreement, there is to be a full resumption of normalcy at NWC offices and facilities islandwide, starting with the night shift today.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister’s call had come as various stakeholders began to feel the impact of the strike, which has resulted, among other things, in the forced closure of several offices, businesses and schools.

Addressing a leadership retreat for members of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation that he leads, Holness stated: “I will take this opportunity to make an appeal to workers and leadership of the NWC to return to work and to get back to manning our water stations and returning water, this essential commodity, to our citizens, our business, to our schools, hospitals and all our endeavours.”

VALID CONCERNS

He noted: “We do understand and believe that there are valid concerns by the workers and staff of the NWC… . We acknowledge that at some point the workers would have to get the attention of the Government and I believe that the attention has been gotten.”

The prime minister disclosed that negotiations between the Government and workers of the NWC are ongoing and it is hoped that these discussions are nearing a solution.

In the meantime, Holness argued: “There is no need for the public to continue to suffer.”

“So I start at this point in making an appeal to the workers. Jamaica is one boat and if there is a hole in the boat we are all at risk of sinking…,” said the prime minister.

NWC, UNIONS TO SIGN ORDER

Late this afternoon, de facto Information Minister Robert Morgan suggested on Twitter that he had been informed by an official that the back-to-work order was about to be signed between the NWC and unions representing the striking workers.

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