British Virgin Islands

Thursday, Jan 21, 2021

Water & Sewerage workers ‘underpaid and overworked’

Water & Sewerage workers ‘underpaid and overworked’

The Director of Water & Sewerage Department, Pearline Scatliffe-Leonard is calling for a salary increase for the workers in her department because she believes they are being underpaid and overworked.

Scatliffe-Leonard made the statement during a recent interview on the Honestly Speaking radio programme where she announced a number of the issues that her department has been facing, including the need for more staff.

She said that the duties for a number of her staff have gradually increased over the years, which is linked to the growing number of customers her department continues to record annually.

“Personally, I think the field workers are underpaid and overworked and let me just explain that because persons may say, ‘well, you always have leaks and so forth’, and may not understand where we are going,” she said.

“We are adding new customers every year, we are adding new customers both on the sewerage side and the water side every year. — 2,000-plus; probably sometimes and that’s how we grow. And the same workers are expanding in responsibility but we’re not expanding in staff. You expect the same staff to deal with all this expansion, bearing the same salaries. That’s an issue,” Scatliffe-Leonard explained.

A 24/7 department


The director added that due to the services being offered by her department, it automatically puts her workers in a unique category as they must be on call to provide a service at any given time of the day.

She said: “Water & Sewerage Department is also not like any other department because you must have 24/7 service. You’re talking about a service where you must have water. It’s not a Monday-to-Friday job. It’s a Sunday -to-Saturday job. We must have people and to have people you have to ensure that they are properly compensated and that’s an issue for us at the Water & Sewerage Department.”

Employee morale important


She also spoke to the importance of employee morale. She said she believes once an employee feels appreciated, it helps to motivate them in executing their duty.

“We are in a structure with the entire service and as a former HR Manager I understand that. But it’s certainly time that we review that whole salary structure and having that for the water guys. I think once they are compensated appropriately, I mean, if I send them somewhere and ask them to do something, they’ll do it but not happily do it. If they’re feeling valued, then we won’t have a problem,” Scattlife-Leonard stated.

The director said that both the Water & Sewerage Minister and his Permanent Secretary are aware of these issues and are on board to having them rectified.

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