Dennis Chung, CEO of the PSOJ
A suggestion has come from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) that some of the overstaffed workers at the state-run Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) could be deployed to other government agencies where there is a shortage of their skill sets.
This follows a disclosure by JUTC Managing Director Paul Abrahams at Wednesday's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee that the bus entity is overstaffed.
Mr. Abrahams noted that the cash-strapped company has 300 more workers than what is needed to run its operation, which is causing it to spend an additional $25 million per month to pay the extra employees.
Dennis Chung, Chief Executive Officer of the PSOJ, has said it is good that the company is undertaking a rationalisation exercise to reduce the number of extra workers. However, at the end of the exercise, the additional workers should not be left out of a job.
He is calling for a plan to be put in place that will help the additional workers to transition into other jobs.
"It makes no sense taking them up and putting them on the road. But are there other places that we can place them? There are a lot of government projects that are under way now. I just met with one such, the HOPE project, which is being led by Colonel Rickman, which is seeking re-introduce unattached persons into the labour force," Mr. Chung shared.
But despite the JUTC operating in the red, Mr. Chung is of the view the government should not at the moment think about privatising the state-run bus company.
He suggested instead that the JUTC look at building its capacity as well as possibly allowing taxi and bus operators to join its fleet.
"What we need to be doing is pumping more money, I think, into JUTC... and ensuring that people can move around in peace and move around efficiently and we not pack up people like sardines into public transportation vehicles," he asserted.
At present, the JUTC is losing $2 billion a year in its operations.