Workers at the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC), San Fernando, downed tools and walked off the job yesterday morning, after one of their employees suffered a broken leg when an unmanned bus pinned him against a steel work table.
Adell Mohammed, was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital, where he is still warded. After the incident, workers at the engineering department refused to work demanding that PTSC make their environment safe and provide a reliable service for the travelling public.
Ken Ramdath, branch secretary of the Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU) explained that while Mohammed was at his work station, an electrician was instructed by his supervisor to start a bus, not from the ignition, but from the back.
“The bus was started but like it went into a gear for itself and it start to move forward so fast that it pinned Mohammed against the work table,” Ramdath said.
The electrician tried to stop the bus, trying to engage the hand brakes, which was not working and then the reverse gear. The bus rolled back and slammed into another bus behind, but it was too late for Mohammed. Ramdath said the accident could have been prevented if proper maintenance were done on those buses.
He added, “The hand brakes was not working, the foot brakes was not working. When the union went in, we saw there were no chucks on the wheels.”
Ramdath said they had repeatedly complained about the buses which had outgrown their usefulness and needed to be replaced.
He said workers in the engineering department were traumatised and scared, because their lives were at risk due to lax safety measures.
He said the compound was not safe either as there was no wire fence to secure it.
“We operate on a 24 hour basis and external forces walk in and out of the compound. Workers have to constantly be looking behind their backs to make sure they are not attacked and robbed.
“Recently one of our colleagues was killed. We want to work. We want to make a positive contribution, but we need the public support. We also need those in authority to stop making compromises and provide a safe environment for workers.
“The union is taking a firm stand on this issue of safety.”