BPL Union president Paul Maynard. Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
BAHAMAS Electrical Workers Union president Paul Maynard has warned that Bahamas Power and Light employees stationed at Clifton Pier will be “pulled off the job” if “deplorable” bathrooms at the plant are not brought up to an acceptable standard.
Some bathroom facilities have not been cleaned since December, well before Christmas, Mr Maynard claimed.
He told The Tribune there was a clear difference in standard between the bathroom BPL workers use and those utilised by non-Bahamians who were brought in to do ground work for the company’s new $95m power plant.
The BEWU chief said he complained to several executives about the condition of the facilities to no avail. As a result, he said BPL has until Monday to fix the issues or else workers will be told not to report to work at the Clifton plant.
The issue was put to BPL Chairman Donovan Moxey yesterday. He said while BPL does want the best possible facilities for employees, there were a lot of things on the executive board’s plate.
In response to Mr Maynard’s assertion that the standard was different for Bahamians compared with foreign workers, Mr Moxey said: “Station A hasn’t been used in about four years. There are no new bathrooms there.
“From my perspective, obviously we want to have the best possible facilities for BPL employees to work in and that is something that we are striving to do on a daily basis and those things take time.”
Mr Moxey added: “We just got in. Obviously, we have a lot of different things on our plate but again we want the best work environment.”
Meanwhile, the union says having to use bathrooms in such a condition is demoralising for the 100 BPL workers at the plant. They work 24-hour shifts at Clifton Pier.
Asked if the workers were told not to use the better bathrooms in Station A, Mr Maynard said this was not the case, but he said it boils down to proximity.
“Both bathrooms are a considerable distance from each other. It’s a long walk to them,” he said. “They get dirty and stuff and have to go in the showers and change and wash clothes and stuff before they go home.”
He added: “The bathrooms are in poor condition, it’s deplorable, just ridiculous. They don’t even clean them. We told them to have them cleaned.
“Last Monday I went up there and I discovered this. We said this is just ridiculous.
“Then I went to another part of the plant where the white man working dealing with the new engines. That one is fixed up, nice and clean. It’s ridiculous.
“I said ‘man, y’all have two different stations going on down here – one for the white man and one for the Negroes.’”
Mr Maynard said their concerns are not new.
Last year, workers complained the ceilings were leaking and there was mold.
These issues were addressed he said, but ignored the fact that attention needed to be placed on sanitation and upkeep of the facilities, Mr Maynard said.