Junior Staff at Mount St John’s risk allowance

The original article can be found in: Antigua Observer By Martina Johnson

 ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The sun set yesterday with no relief for angry junior staff at Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) who are demanding risk allowance and for management to hand over Medical Benefits, Social Security and Education Levy deductions.

The junior workers comprise nursing assistants, laboratory workers, orderlies, emergency room technicians, staff in the x-ray department, operating theatre and the sterilizing unit.

Executive member of the Antigua & Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA) Joan Peters told OBSERVER media, hours after workers protested outside the medical facility yesterday morning, management agreed to “have talks” on the issues.

“We met yesterday and we have to have some follow up meetings starting between now and Friday. Workers are at their stations. And, certain things have to be implemented as we go along,” Peters said.

However, according to her, management did not make any commitments regarding the workers’ demands.

She said the board has to meet before any decision can be made to pay risk allowance.

“They can’t do anything until the board meets. We are not celebrating over the meeting (yesterday) but we are glad we were able to express our concerns and were told there would be more meetings,” she added.

Close to 50 workers gathered outside the emergency room – without placards – from 8:30 am and remained there for several hours until the administrative director and human resource department officials called a meeting.

While most of the workstations were covered, OBSERVER media was unable to ascertain whether operations were affected, as efforts to reach the medical centre’s communications officer Salma Crump were unsuccessful.

The workers said they are challenging management over the fact registered nurses receive risk allowance while junior staff do not.

Peters said workers have been lobbying for the allowance since 2003 when they were at Holberton Hospital and from 2009 when they moved to MSJMC. Management reportedly maintained its inability to pay because of financial constraints.

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