Govt & Opposition Spar Over Reports of Over-staffing at JUTC

A row has erupted between the government and the opposition over who’s to be blamed for packing the state-owned bus company, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, JUTC, with 500 people it doesn’t need.

A senior Cabinet Minister in the current JLP Administration, Delroy Chuck, says politics is the reason why the company employs far more people than it needs. He says the last PNP administration is to be blamed.

Minister Chuck says the extra staff were employed for ‘political reasons’.

Minister Chuck was speaking this afternoon at a Rotary Club of Kingston meeting at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston.

Following his address, he told the media the previous Simpson-Miller administration is responsible for the overstaffing at the JUTC.

He’s calling for action from the board of the JUTC.

Managing Director of the JUTC, Paul Abrahams, yesterday disclosed to Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC, that its overstaffed by 470 people.

He says the bus company currently employs 2,250 people. He says it’s ‘optimum level’ is 1-thousand-780, which was the number employed when he left in 2012.

Mr. Abrahams says it’s costing the company an additional $25-million per month, or $300-million per year, to pay the approximately 500 workers.

Meanwhile, Opposition Spokesman on Transport, Mikael Phillips, is questioning the information on overstaffing provided by JUTC Managing Director, Paul Abrahams, at yesterday’s sitting of the PAAC.

Mr. Abrahams said he didn’t employ any of the nearly 500 workers. But Mr. Phillips says that can’t be true.

He says the Clerk of the PAAC is requesting further particulars regarding what was said by Mr. Abrahams.

Mr. Phillips says when the PNP handed over the JUTC to the current administration it wasn’t overstuffed.

He says the current administration has done nothing to address the overstaffing if it’s indeed so.

And, news of overstaffing at the JUTC is reportedly causing “jitters” among staff.

General Secretary of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees, UCASE, John Levy, says the government needs to provide detailed information as to which areas are overstaffed.

Mr. Levy says he’s surprised by the numbers.