St Ann’s Hospital workers protest for salary arrears

The original article can be found in: Trinidad Newsday

Workers of St Ann’s Hospital will today protest outside the Health Ministry, Park Street, Port-of-Spain for arrears from the salary settlement for 2008-2010 negotiated between the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) and Public Services Association (PSA).

Although the Regional Health Authority (RHA) workers do not fall under the purview of the PSA/CPO negotiations, they benefit from increases received by the public sector.

“We are fed-up. Increments are outstanding, allowances, the year is coming to a close and we are not hearing anything,” a nurse complained. St Ann’s workers are under the management of the North-West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA). She reported that morale among staff at the mental institution was low, and there was absenteeism.

The nurse said, “before they were saying they were waiting on approval from the CPO; now they change, and are saying they are waiting on a cheque from the Ministry of Health. I don’t know how far the cheque is, and who has to sign it.”

Dr Edison Haqq, Chairman of the NWRHA said, “we have done our auditing, quantified the amount and it has gone to the ministry, we have to get approval from the CPO.”

A query was sent to the Office of the Chief Personnel Officer for clarification on the matter. It stated, “employees of the RHAs are not officers of the Civil Service and are therefore not covered by agreements reached between the Public Services Association and the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) on behalf of officers of the Civil Service.”

While approval was granted for salary increases similar to those applicable to officers of the public service to be applied to specified employees of the RHAs, “no approval was conveyed in respect of allowances, since not all allowances applicable to officers of the Civil Service may be relevant to employees of the RHAs.”

The CPO’s office said the matter was being addressed and the relevant approval would be conveyed to the RHAs when the matter was determined.

“Existing policy requires that the CPO convey approval for terms and conditions of employment of persons employed in Statutory Bodies and State Enterprise, since these entities are the responsibility of the State, and may have a considerable impact on State expenditure as well as on compensation trends in the economy,” the response stated.

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