Gas station attendants call for more pay

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Putting petrol in a car's tank. Picture courtesy of Luca Nardone

Gas station attendants are demanding more pay from the Jamaica Gas Retailers Association (JGRA) and the National Workers Union (NWU).

Tevin Wilson (not his real name), who has been a gas station attendant for three years, told the Monitor Tribune that his weekly pay is not enough to cover all his expenses. “Fi a typical guy like me, if me fi explain my life living, $10,500 nah go work. That would a just pay – even though light bill just come once per month – but, that would a be just the light bill,” he said. Wilson believes that with an increase to a weekly wage of $15,000, he would be better able to foot his bills. “Pon a average, mi nah go overthink it or pressure nothing but mi think $15, 000 per week could a basically help. That could a fall back pon your fare and lunch, your bills to pay, [to take care of the kids] for those who have kids and a whole heap of other things,” he explained.

Wilson has had to find another source of income for survival in farming. “Mi do likkle hustling pon the side. I do farming. That is my major income. So, it’s typically the farming, otherwise from when mi might help a friend do something and him might give me a dollar or two”, he said. He added, “Without the farming and my family, mi nuh think mi would a survive. Maybe mi would a cuss and gone home long time. So, obviously the $10,000 nah cut it ‘cause nuff time mi haffi go back to them [my family] and borrow fi come back a work.  Sometime yah hafi borrow fi this yah week yah and yah hafi pay it back and then still borrow fi the next week”. Wilson revealed that he has not spoken to nor would he know who to speak to about the issues he is having with his current wage.

Jason Russell (not his real name), another attendant, recalled that while he has received more money on his pay from time to time, it has not been substantial. “To how the gas station ting set, wid all the things you have to do, mi would a seh the least we should a get per week a bout $15,000,” said Russell. He agrees that his current pay is not enough to cover his expenses and as such he had to find another source of income. “Mi have a business pon the side so, that basically a help me finance my ting. The gas station pay can just basically cover the bills dem,” he said.

The Monitor Tribune contacted the JGRA about any future wage increases but it was unable to speak on the matter at this time.

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