NCRHA workers have rejected government’s offer of 25 per cent payment of increments, with PSA spokesperson Kester Thomas saying the workers do not want government’s “hush money.”
The workers gathered to protest on Tuesday, and Thomas said the percentage was too low, as the workers give 100 per cent work all the time.
He said the money had been owed to them for the last six years and he found it strange that the offer was made after they protested on Friday.
“Clarence Rambharat, who is not even our line minister, made the announcement in Parliament. He said 25 per cent. Twenty-five per cent of what? We’d like to know. And when (will) the other 75 per cent would be coming.
“This is money we have fought for. There’s a large crowd here protesting and this protest will continue daily, 24/7, until we come to confirmation that both sides are party to and they keep their agreement, because we have been battling with this on and off all the time and always get the sticky end.”
He said the people in the high-dependency and intensive care units would continue to be well taken care of.
“We are public servants who are responsible for our duties which is to give proper health care. You would not get a call that any number of people are being left aside as we do our protests.”
TT Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) President Idi Stuart said the union did not see the government’s offer as any real form of decisive action.
He said increments are owed across the board for all healthcare workers, so singling out one RHA who has been negligent over the years in paying their staff their proper salaries is irrelevant.
“We want government to pay all RHA workers all of their monies, which is owed in excess of seven years. The offer is really little comfort to our members and TTRNA is continuing our almost daily protests at institutions throughout TT. That is insulting to members, that you’re owing me so much, even in light that you’re making payments to the business sector in terms of VAT refunds, you are making a number of payments but yet you want to pay healthcare workers 25 per cent and its only applicable to one RHA. I’m not sure what was the intent of it but it’s surely not going to stymie the agitation of TTRNA.”
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, said the matter had been raised with all RHA CEOs and particularly the NCRHA, where a lot of the issues are.
“I am told by the CEO in very fruitful meetings with both the PSA and the TTRNA, they are coming closer and closer together on many of the issues and some resolution to many of these longstanding issues will be implemented in the shortest possible time.”
NCRHA CEO Davlin Thomas said the present board engaged the issue which they inherited from as far back as 2009. He said they took the position they would stop the accumulation of debt.
He said they brought 2,600 workers to their correct incremental points earlier this year and simultaneously budgeted for payments toward the retroactive debt.
“We’re now awaiting the releases from the ministry for people so we could move forward. The 25 per cent would be of the retroactive debt owed for increments. Each one is different for each individual worker, because they would not have started at the same time, so we can’t give individual figures, we know the total figure is a few hundred thousand short of $40 million, which is why it’s required that we get the release of the funding from the ministry.”