Port of Spain – The Trinidad & Tobago Cabinet mandated the board of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to immediately begin the execution of a transformation plan, which will start with the cutting of 213 members of the executive team, followed by cuts in an unknown number of staff.
Minister of Public Utilities, Marvin Gonzales said the Cabinet approved the transformation plan during a meeting on Thursday.
WASA has 426 executive managers and the intention is to cut it by 50 per cent.
According to Gonzales, the cutting of other staff will not be done without discussions with the collective bargaining units.
He was, however, reluctant to give a number or percentage for staff cuts saying he did not want to prejudice the discussions between the board and the unions.
WASA currently employs close to 5 000 workers.
Gonzales said there is recognition that WASA is over-staffed and that voluntary separation agreements are likely to be part of the discussions.
He said the drive is towards the employment of new technology that will ensure better efficiency, and it will open up opportunities for people to be re-skilled and re-tooled, and for young people, in particular, to benefit from new jobs.
Speaking during a news conference, Gonzales said that WASA will take on a new structure that will include five service areas with five managers directly reporting to the chief executive officer.
He said the level of management must be reduced to ensure WASA runs more efficiently, and it is not caught up in too much red tape, and the structure will ensure that they can quickly address matters to ensure citizens are adequately and reliably served.
Gonzales added that leaks are now being tracked and pipelines with high burst propensities are earmarked for replacement, noting that this will reduce the “decimation of newly paved roads” done to fix leaks when heavy equipment are used over aged pipelines.
The minister said the new model will be more business-oriented with the customer being the main focus.