Guyana nurses walk off job over five percent pay issue

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

The Linden Hospital Complex continued to operate with a skeleton staff as nurses continued their industrial action to protest the five per cent (5%) pay increase in their wages and salaries posited by the Guyana Government. The nurses say that they will step up industrial action if their needs are not met.

The Accident and Emergency Rm which is usually busy was decorated with silence with only doctors and supervisors on staff generally. The Union Representative for the aggrieved nurses, Maurice Butters said that the nurses were will intensify action until their voices “were heard”.

According to reports, the nurses are upset that Sugar Workers who also recently took industrial action sought relief and it was granted but that of the nurses remained in abeyance for some time.

“We just had a meeting with staff, and nurses have vowed to continue the industrial action. These nurses expect the same to be done for them, because they are just as important as the sugar workers. Further to that it is not only the five percent increase or imposition, that was discussed but there are other long standing issues that have to be dealt with, like the gratuity payments that are still outstanding, out of town allowance since 1996 when the hospital was taken over. Employees have been given $2,400 per month, and prices would have increased, so how can such a sum be adequate at this time?” said Butters.

Butters also said that the allowance for staff uniforms was inadequate and there were persistent issues of no- payment for overtime and workers who were ill and entitled to sick leave from Government were being “marked absent”.

Butters also indicated that the GPSU saw the Government’s offer of five percent as “an imposition” since the Union was not even consulted on the matter before any agreement to the five percent offer could be made.

According to reports in Kaieteur News, Butter said that “that letters were written to the Public Service Minister requesting meetings to address the issue of the workers’ wages and salaries, since April last, but to date there has been no response”

Butters also indicated that letters were sent to the Minister of Labour requesting intervention.
“We believe the time has come for this to stop, and for them to get back to the negotiating table,” Butters reiterated.

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