Montego Bay Metro bus service workers on strike at their office at Bogue in Montego Bay, St James.
Students who were relying on the Montego Bay Metro bus service to transport them to and from school in sections of north western Jamaica on the first day of the 2018-2019 school year, were in for a rude awakening, as workers of the state-run bus company went on strike on Monday morning.
The strike action also affected adult commuters who normally use the publicly-owned and operated bus service across three parishes – Hanover, St James and Trelawny.
The striking workers said they are fed with the disparity in pay between them and workers in their sister company, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), the lapse of their health insurance, and the faulty buses that they are working with.
As early as 5:00 a.m., the workers paraded in front of their office in Montego Bay to protest the challenges that they are faced with daily.
Island Supervisor of the National Workers’ Union (NWU), Kurt Fletcher, said the union is in solidarity with the workers who have been made to cope under stressful circumstances for much too long.
"At this point in time, the union is 100 per cent supporting the workers. We will be here. We have gotten some correspondence today via word from the general manager that they are trying to find the permanent secretary and the minister to find out what to do, but right now the workers are not going to let up until we have something definitive," Fletcher stated.
The workers said they intend to keep off the job to send a strong signal to the Government to address their concerns.
Students attending schools in the three parishes, who rely heavily on the bus service to transport them to and from their respective educational institution, were especially affected by the strike action.