Jamaica News, Montego Bay: Montego Bay Metro Workers Strike – Several bus drivers, conductors, conductresses, washers, employed to the Metro Bus Company in Montego Bay, St James, are now voicing their concern over what they claim to be poor treatment on the behalf of the government.
Over thirty workers took a stand on the compound of the Metro Company located at Bogue in Montego Bay, St James and protested over uniforms not issued, Health Cards being down and no one able to access the health benefits.
These problems have been taking place for some time now.
The strike led to thousands of students being affected, left stranded in their communities and the Montego Bay Transport Center.
The workers say they are concerned as to the neglect of the government, but more so, they are concern over students safety today, which is the first day of the new school term.
Our news team learned from the concerned drivers and conductors that the Montego Bay office has now been reduced to only three buses, which are being used to transport hundreds of passengers to dozens of locations on a daily basis.
Several drivers have indicated that, parishes in western Jamaica such as Trelawny, St James and Hanover, are now facing a time of crisis, where students, especially females, are being murdered unconditionally and come Monday, hundreds of students who travel via the Metro buses are now left stranded from lack of transportation.
Ralston McLean, Metro driver, employed to the Montego Bay branch stated that all routes in western Jamaica are now affected by this problem.
“I am just a driver, and I am just hearing a lot of things that buses need parts, there are only three buses on route now, and that is the truth of the matter,” McLean stated “I am active as a driver and at work right now, but there is no bus for me to drive, this is a very serious problem, especially when it comes to the safety of students”.
McLean went on to say, “come Monday morning a lot of students will be left stranded and we as drivers cannot allow such a thing at this time, with so much murders taking place”.
Come Monday morning, if the problem is not addressed, the Metro company in Montego Bay will be operating handicapped with three buses only, one of which travels the Falmouth route, the other the Cambridge route and the Sandy Bay route in Hanover.
On a normal day, a fleet of ten buses would ply these routes.
4 would travel via Falmouth, 2 – via Sandy Bay, 2 -via Cambridge, 1 – via Wakefield and the other via Knockalva.
Ms. Kay Francis, Human Resource Manager at the JUTC Western Office told our news team last weekend that, they are well aware of the grave problem they are faced with at this time, but they are addressing it with great urgency.
“The company is trying everything humanly possible, to have the buses up and running for school come Monday morning,” Francis stated, “the students are our top priority and we are working to have this problem fixed as quickly as possible”.
The Human Resource Manager also informed us that, presently the Metro Company Manager is having dialogue by telephone, with the Ministry of Transport, to find a solution to address the problem.