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Pipelayers back on the job after two-day strike

The Herald, 23 September 2000

ROSEAU, Dominica - Labour officials are refusing to disclose details of an arrangement arrived at Tuesday, to get workers in Dominica on a pipelaying project in the capital back on the job Wednesday.

About thirty workers on that segment of the 57 million Eastern Caribbean dollar (US$21 million) Roseau Water and Sanitation Project, stopped work Monday, demanding more pay and protesting conditions of work.

Public Relations Officer of the Dominica Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO), Adina Bellot-Valentine said while the workers request for a pay hike was not granted, the resumption of work was based on the understanding that the workers would have their request for a pay increase reviewed within the next six months. "They have indicated that the Labour Division has agreed with them in terms of the rate that they paying the employees now. And they have indicated that within the next or so months they will review the rates that they are paying the employees, but however at this time it is not possible for the company to increase their rate of pay," she said.

Valantine said in the meantime the company has agreed to meet the workers demands for better protective gear. "After a meeting with Labour officials, they have agreed in principle to provide more protective clothing for the workers who particularly have to work in the sewer lines," she disclosed.

The Roseau Water and Sanitation Project involves the laying of new water and sewer lines in the capital, and the construction of two pumping stations, a sewerage outfall, treatment plant and sea defence wall on the outskirts of the city.

The project is funded by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Canadian International Agency for Development (CIDA), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Dominica.