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Minister says strike off, NOBA says strike still on

Minister says strike off, NOBA says strike still on

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There are mixed signals coming out of a meeting held yesterday between Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works senator Julian Francis and president of the National Omni-Bus Association (NOBA) Anthony ‘Code Red’ Bacchus.

Francis, in an interview with {{more}}SEARCHLIGHT yesterday said he believes that talk of strike action has been suspended; however, according to Bacchus, plans to strike are still on.

“There is a general agreement that no such action will take place…following the decision of the Commissioner [of Police] on Thursday, I believe an announcement will be made then,” Francis said.

“We have decided…to carry out repairs on some roads, working on the worse roads…,” the minister said.

According to Francis, the issue of granting permission to minibuses to drive up Kingstown Hill on afternoons between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. was also discussed during his meeting with Bacchus.

Francis said the Commissioner of Police, who was also at the meeting, will give his decision on that particular matter on Thursday this week, and a release will be made sometime during the week as to whether this request of NOBA will be allowed or not.

However, when SEARCHLIGHT contacted Bacchus, he was adamant that strike action is still on.

“The strike is … still on. We will let the public know Wednesday or Thursday exactly how we are moving forward, but as of right now, after the meeting with Senator Francis and the Commissioner of Police, the strike is still on.”

Bacchus remained tight-lipped about any decision that was made during the meeting, but assured SEARCHLIGHT that the public will be made aware of the association’s plans to move forward later this week.

Members of NOBA who attended a meeting of the Association on Sunday at the Haddon Hotel, also seemed to come away believing that plans to strike had been suspended.

There were approximately 20 members in attendance, some of whom spoke to SEARCHLIGHT afterwards, and expressed their displeasure at the outcome.

“They took a different point of view than what we was planning whole week,” one irritated bus operator stated.

He stated that he went to the meeting expecting one thing and what he got at the meeting was something completely different.

He stated that he believes that strike action was suspended following a telephone call Bacchus got from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, asking him to meet with minister of State in the Ministry of Works Senator Julian Francis.

The bus driver noted that the members of the association had already agreed they were not going to meet with Francis, hence his disappointment.

“If they planning to do anything, I not in it,” he stated firmly.

Another irate bus driver was heard saying “They sell we out,” following the meeting.

A third operator also told SEARCHLIGHT it was his understanding that the strike action had been suspended, pending the outcome of the meeting with Francis, which was held yesterday. (CM)

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