Monday, April 22, 2024

Mould at MOE affecting workers’ health

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A leaking roof and mould build-up in one of the buildings at the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training has forced management to relocate staff and have others work remotely for the past week.

It’s understood that one of the buildings on the “main block” of the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St Michael has had infrastructural damage for the past three years, but worsened recently with an increase in rainfall.

A source told Nation News that the mould had been affecting workers’ health, with some suffering respiratory challenges and skin outbreaks. The situation reportedly caused a “handful” of workers to take sick leave.

“The roof on the main block needs to be fixed. There are parts when the rain fall, you can’t work and there are parts of the ceiling that have fallen in.”

Management reportedly met with staff two weeks ago and assured them that the situation would be rectified soon. However, the source said the situation had been ongoing for a long time.

“This roof was supposed to be changed three to four years now. The money was already [allocated] into the budget, however, nothing was done.

The last time we heard anything was in August when a contractor was assigned. We were told they were awaiting the materials in the port.”

One source said that management held a meeting after some people called in sick and they assured staff remedial work would be done last week.

General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Richard Green, said the trade union met with the ministry on the matter last week and he was told that the matter was actively being addressed.

“The NUPW received an update on the issues related to the problems with a building. It’s our understanding that some of the staff have been relocated to another section of another compound and some have been granted permission to work from home.”

Greene added that the Ministry officials told him remedial work would soon start and the workers would be able to return to their regular work stations.

“The ministry said they were hoping to get it done within the next week or two but it was delayed due to the rainfall last month.

He said he received no reports of staff being sick but that the union would be closely monitoring the progress of the repairs.

Efforts to reach The Ministry of Education for comment on the matter were unsuccessful. (AL)

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