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'Why are we subjected to these type of working conditions?' - Gov't worker

- said allowing staff to work under hazardous conditions at Central Administration Complex is violating their rights under the Labour Code
Central Administration Complex on Wickham's Cay I took a beating from Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
Damages caused by Hurricane Irma inside the Ministry of Natural Resource and Labour. Photo: Team of Reporters
Damages caused by Hurricane Irma inside the Ministry of Natural Resource and Labour. Photo: Team of Reporters
Other damages to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour. Photo: Team of Reporters
Other damages to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour. Photo: Team of Reporters
The Central Administration Complex In Road Town that was destroyed by Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
The Central Administration Complex In Road Town that was destroyed by Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Staff at Central Administration Complex on Wickham's Cay I, on the main island of Tortola, are displeased with the working conditions that they have been subjected to following the passage of Hurricane Irma, which damaged the Complex.

When our newsroom visited the Government building, workers were seen operating on the corridors while some were inside still trying to clean-up and salvage documents.

The Central Administration Complex has had mold infestation for a number of years and it was partially fixed but since the passage of Hurricane Irma, it has gotten even worse, according to a source who assisted in the clean-up of the mold.

"I was a part of the clean-up team a few years back and we were assigned to clean a section of the air condition units."

Our source informed our news reporter that the mold was so bad at that time, the workers were asked to wear a hazard suit for protection:

"At that time it was bad and we had to wear a suit. I don't want to see what it looks like now."

Gov't workers rights being violated

Under the Labour Code Part IX, the rights of the public officers are being violated because the government is making the staff work under hazardous conditions, one of the employees argued.

According to Part IX of the Labour Code, "An employer at any work place including a construction site shall ensure that a safe, sound, healthy and secure working environment is provided as far as is reasonably practicable."

Uncomfortable & unsafe working conditions

Speaking with workers in various departments of the Central Administration Complex, they shared the same sentiments that the working conditions have been uncomfortable and as a result, the workers are unable to perform their duties effectively.

"Right now my department is working outside on the corridors which is not a good representation to the public," one worker said while noting that everyone knows things are tough but admits that the government can do better for their workers.

Another worker disclosed that the mold in the building is "horrible and nasty" and it will make the workers get sick.

"I am afraid of going into the building because I personally know someone who got infected with mold and right now they developed asthma as a result," expressed a concerned worker.

Meanwhile, another worker who also wished to remain anonymous suggested that Governmnt could have placed them in another building.

"I've seen other businesses place their workers in other buildings that was not severely damaged, so I cannot understand why are we subjected to these type of working conditions," said a frustrated government worker.

Dawn O. Leonard, Health and Safety Coordinator and Ariel Donovan, Central Administration Complex Manager did not respond to our written queries on the matter up to the time of publication.

43 Responses to “'Why are we subjected to these type of working conditions?' - Gov't worker”

  • BamBam (04/11/2017, 11:13) Like (27) Dislike (13) Reply
    Well stay home then and don, t go to work that's all.
    • where's the love tola (04/11/2017, 11:48) Like (16) Dislike (5) Reply
      Then they wouldn't pay the individuals. You got to either be an employer or not in the situation. Currently a family member had to leave for the mold affected them badly. It have numerous workers scared to leave for they might not get paid or have a job so they go to work even though their body is being affected.
      • bright side (05/11/2017, 10:24) Like (8) Dislike (7) Reply
        The government can't force you to stay on a job if you don't like the conditions. If you are uncomfortable in the job, then leave. The whole concept of employment is that you have to work for your money. These are difficult times for all of us. Things have changed. Its beyond our control. If you cant cope with the situation then leave.
        • puh leez (05/11/2017, 21:59) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
          So why the big ones not working in there then? Give me a break. They wouldn't want to work under those circumstances either.
    • ... (04/11/2017, 12:34) Like (35) Dislike (7) Reply
      Rebuilding....and we would all be subjected to various uncomfortable environments until we get back to some form of normalcy. We cannot get back to normal if we do not work through the hurdles. If you cannot work in the area or you feel it's unsafe please stay home. No one is making anyone stay to work under duress. I suppose we should all stay home and wait then huh....we getting paid anyway. Some of you all need to be out in the private sector...would have been sent home long time.
    • john smith (04/11/2017, 12:37) Like (8) Dislike (10) Reply
      My sentiments exactly bam bam.they need to stay home or hold a sick out
    • @bambam (04/11/2017, 12:42) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
      And then you don't get paid...
      • think (04/11/2017, 13:57) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
        You are paid for hours worked; check your appointment letter. Further, If it were your company would you pay your employees for hours not worked?
    • Yoga Bear (04/11/2017, 14:10) Like (10) Dislike (11) Reply
      Bam Bam, you so stupid, put yourself in these government worker shoes for one second. In hailing mould for long period can cause all kinds of problem for those workers. What you don't like don't like
    • Today for you tomorrow for me (04/11/2017, 15:48) Like (19) Dislike (4) Reply
      Some people should be glad they have a job. Up to this day my boss refuse to hold a meeting to let us know what's going on and when we can return to work.
      • SMH (04/11/2017, 22:06) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
        So you are saying that people should be glad that they have a job that’s making them sick only to be paid to take the same money to pay it in doctor bills. I️ swear you people are stuck on stupid. I think your health should come first.
    • Hmph (04/11/2017, 18:11) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      We have developed world type employment law in a third world country. It cannot work.
    • @bambam (04/11/2017, 22:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Them have to fill out time sheets. If no show no pay! A double whammy. All who consider to put back in any of these ndp asses so stupid. Fi(&&ng deal with it or take back the country. Stop complaining.
  • one eye (04/11/2017, 11:28) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    While the elite gone to the ritter building
  • vex (04/11/2017, 11:42) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    SMH
  • wow (04/11/2017, 12:32) Like (11) Dislike (15) Reply
    Be thankful you still have a job because i would be frightened.
  • concern (04/11/2017, 13:19) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    If anything to happen filled a law suit against the government, simple as that.
  • wize up (04/11/2017, 13:38) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    because the cash went into the Bandy Wine Bay Beach and that Airway Company: if this were an election years you and I would have better treatment....you see the roads we driving on right now; when the cruise ships return all those roads will get fixed because the visitors!!!?????(leave that for now)
  • Xbox (04/11/2017, 19:20) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
    This is sad how they treat their workers
  • wow (04/11/2017, 19:34) Like (7) Dislike (13) Reply
    That's tortola people complain about every Damm thing
    • wize up (04/11/2017, 20:36) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ WOW: this is our country and if things not going right we reserve the right to speak up and speak out: you need to go sit down with your dumb fu(&; this is democratic society NOT Russia or China:
  • See (04/11/2017, 19:38) Like (14) Dislike (11) Reply
    be glad you have a job at all .... pathetic wimps
    Lots of people would be happy to work
  • I can't believe my eyes (04/11/2017, 20:16) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Does any one out here have any experience with mold or ever been in any real contact with mold well to wow and bam and all the others when the mold is finished with this country and the innocent government workers of this territory and that government complex we are going to have funerals on a daily basis and I hope that your jobs would be able to take care of corpses wish you guys the best that is why this country is the way it is every one is an export with no experience wish you guys lots of luck but don't mess with mold it's no joke
  • Hmph (04/11/2017, 20:55) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yall some crazy people. If Irma didn't take their life, why must they intentionally kill themselves because of a job? Breathing mold isn't anything a sane person should do or keep doing.
  • Well Tell (04/11/2017, 21:16) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    You should see some schools. Police need to investigate because it must be a crime for students and teachers to be have to function under such conditions.
  • True (04/11/2017, 23:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    No rights have been violated according to the section they quote from the Labor code. As far as reasonably practical, which it is.
  • farmer brown (05/11/2017, 01:59) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    So having a job nowadays means surrendering to toxic working conditions?

    WHERE THE hell is the new governor?????
  • SOS (05/11/2017, 04:05) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Don't talk.bout that fire station I went there the other day to seek a lil shelter from rain n water is literally coming in the building and these guys are in there pushing n mopping water. The area these guys sleeps smell of mold from outside where i was standing this is crazy I felt for those who are working in these conditions. God be with these virgin islands ✊
  • Past Government Worker (05/11/2017, 06:25) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The person who spoke to the media must not have been a Government worker
  • reality (05/11/2017, 11:18) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    Government needs to cut back on employees just like many businesses. They have now lost all cruiseship taxes, charterboat cruising permits, company formations and other sources of income. They will not be able to keep full staff.
  • No A/c (05/11/2017, 12:14) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    They either need to turn off the a/c so it doesn't spread the mold or put a mold inhibitor into the ac system to clean it out. They need something like this. http://www.gelair.com.au/index.php/products/gelair-airconditioning-blocks.
    Nanny Cay sells the smaller version of it called Kanberra Gel and it works great at removing mold and mildew from boat ac systems.
  • E. Leonard (05/11/2017, 13:51) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into the BVI thrusting it into a crisis. As such, there must be balance between government’s need to deliver services and employees health, safety and security. Employees health and safety must trump everything else. Government has a moral responsibility to provide a safe, healthful and secure working environment. Certain types of mold, ie, stachbotrys chartarum........etc can be toxic and can pose a serious health risk to employees, customers and visitors health.

    Mold infestation can be costly and dangerous. And every action to prevent and remediate mold infestation. For mold infestation to occur, there must be mold spores, food sources, and moisture. Mold spores are prevalent indoor and outdoor. Food sources are also plentiful, eg, drywall, insulation..........etc. Thus, the most practical way to prevent mold infestation is controlling moisture. As controlling any leg of the fire triangle (fuel, heat and oxygen) so controlling any leg of the mold triangle (mold spores, food sources and moisture) will control mold infestation. Nonethess, as noted, the most practical means to preventing mold infestation is to control moisture, ie, leaks, plumbing leaks, high humidity, air conditioning condensation......etc.

    Moreover, serious action must be taken to remediate mold infestation, along with preventing mold infestation. Furthermore, accomadations must be made to remove employees from unhealthy exposure to toxic mold. Again, it is government moral responsibility to provide a safe, healthful and secure working environment.
    • RealPol (05/11/2017, 20:54) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Is controlling mold by mainly controlling moisture too simplistic to be true? As I understanding it, taking out one leg of the mold triangle (mold spores, food and moisture) prevent mold infestation. And that the most practical leg to control is moisture, for mold spores are widespread and food is readily available. This principle is similar to controlling at least one leg of fire triangle(heat, fuel and oxygen) to control a fire. Ok, if this is true, why the mold problem in the Central Admin Bldg and other government facilities persist? Establish some mold “Tiger Teams” to arrest the mold problem territory-wide.
  • Lily Ann (05/11/2017, 15:54) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    You stay. .. you're dammed
    You leave .... you're dammed

    My solution is wear face masts to avoid breathing in the mould ... but this won't work because Tola ppl got too much pride !!!
    • Bill K (06/11/2017, 12:07) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Face masks make sense if you're really worried about mold. I've worn them 8 hours at a time working under houses and in areas with lots of dust or while sanding. Workers use them all the time all over the world. It can be done. You need the good ones that form a decent seal and filter well. Mold is noxious but it isn't the plague. Most people without other health conditions can work in that environment without much difficulty, without masks, though I would recommend using them. Some who have lung or immune problems are truly at risk. But expecting pay without work is hard for me to respect. If you can't work, there should be generous disability, but don't pretend to have a job if you won't work. And don't pretend hurricane damage is your employer oppressing you. It trivializes actual workplace abuses.
  • Wendy (06/11/2017, 10:28) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Proof positive that there need and should be a massive layoff of these workers pending completion of the building. They have said so loud and clear!
    • True (06/11/2017, 17:52) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      They begging to be laid off and Doc there trying to be kind. He needs to seize the opportunity and reverse his decision to not layoff Gov workers.
  • Lil (06/11/2017, 11:31) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    It seems like every where now has mold. The earth is situated and so all buildings holds a certain amount of moisture. Employers need to simply Invest in some good dehumidifiers.
  • complain (06/11/2017, 14:21) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    All tola people do is complain, complain, complain. Government this, government that. Be pro-active people and find a solution instead of complaining all the time for everything. Thank God you are alive and be thankful you have a job. A bunch of helpless and disgruntled set of people.


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