GPSU challenges gov’t to come out and speak with nurses
Georgetown Public Hospital nurses continued protest actions on Monday for better salaries and risk allowances. The Guyana Public Service Union representative, Owen John, is challenging the government to come and talk to the nurses and not sit in their offices and write statements and letters.
“We have not seen a single representative from the political administration who would have come here to talk to the nurses. The nurses have real issues affecting them and their families. The Union did not go to these people to come to the Union and said we have issues,” John told the media Monday at the protest.
According to John, the health workers have been engaging the Ministry of Health for about two years about the conditions under which they work.
John further sought to explain that the necessary legal proceedings would have been established before the protest.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall on Friday last warned of severe consequences including termination of services and criminal charges if nurses continue to illegally protest. Nandlall in a letter explained that the protest actions by the nurses are not in compliance with Essential Services Arbitration Act and are therefore illegal.
“From what I understand yes [it is legal]; this Union is 97 years old and is advised by a lot of legal minds and obviously the Union would have done what is correct,” John said.
The nurses, who have been picketing the institution of recent, have vowed to pursue various actions until their demands are met.
GPHC on Friday began gearing up for a crisis should nurses go on full strike.
In a notice dated October 2 and sent to all Heads of Department, Director of Medical and Professional Services Dr Fawcett Jeffrey listed some important measures that will be required in anticipation of the strike action including reducing services to only emergencies, suspending all outpatient activities, discharge patients, eliminate visitation and provide home care plan for patients who are not severely ill.