HEALTH workers who are members of the Public Services Association (PSA) and the National Health Workers Union staged a protest on Friday at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope. The protest started at 9.30 am at Building 2 and ended at Building 39, which is the NCRHA’s Administration Building.
PSA spokesman Kester Thomas said, “We have increments outstanding and we have arrears on the increments. They (management), also have permanent letters to issue. They gave us a time frame of January and they reneged on the time frame. They told us the permanent letters was supposed to be since January/February.
“Covid19 came and offset everything. We never got back a word on the issue. At our last meeting with the stakeholders, they told us that in order to get the permanent letters, we have to get a certain amount of money from the treasury.”
The last time the employees protested was in December. A female doctor who watched the protest for a moment was heard muttering, “I wish the union can represent us too...but we cannot protest.”
NCRHA CEO Davlin Thomas later addressed the protesters. Later on, he spoke with Newsday. “They are protesting that the teachers got a stipend because of covid19. I empathize with them. I don’t know all the facts, but there may have been an intention to give the health care workers something (stipend) for covid19. But I believe someone may have spoken before the time was right.”
In terms of the outstanding increments, Thomas said, “We sent out a notice to all staff. We stated that we will bring everyone up to the correct increment point up to this year and we did that. For the issue of retroactive payment for increments, we told them that is 50 million dollars.
“We are waiting to see if we would get it at the Ministry of Health level. We submitted the proper documents and we are waiting. Remember this is something that we inherited, but everyone one is at the correct incremental point. That happened this year,” Thomas said.
Workers have been demonstrating since 2009 for arrears and various deadlines have been given by the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA).