Government puzzled by PWU-inspired Nurses Protest

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 4:08 PM- St. George's, Grenada
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ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, May 31, 2016 –GIS: Mystery surrounds a decision by the Public Workers Union (PWU) to call out some of the country’s nurses on industrial action.

The Grenada Government,on Tuesday, said this week’s industrial action is both “surprising and unfortunate” and has urged nurses to return to work and union leaders to return to the negotiating table.

Health Minister Nickolas Steele says issues raised in the protest are being tackled by the government including retroactive payments and increments for which negotiations are ongoing.

“Some of the issues mentioned in reports about this current protest are being very actively addressed, including retroactive payments and increments, for which negotiations are ongoing,” Steele told Tuesday Post cabinet news briefing.

“Because of all of these, we believe that this week’s industrial action is both surprising and unfortunate, and invite the nurses to return to the job, and the union leaders to return to the discussion and negotiating table”.

Government has already received proposals from the Grenada Union of Teachers and Police Welfare to discuss salary and other benefits for all public workers.

However the Government has been waiting for the last two months for a proposal from the PWU, which represents the nurses.

“The government is eager to start the broad negotiations on all these matters, and look forward to the submission of all proposals for consideration,” Steele said.

The Minister says the PWU appears to be opposed to plans by the government to hire 80 nurses and nursing assistants on a part-time contractual basis.

The ongoing structural adjustment programme prevents the government from hiring the nurses on a full-time permanent basis.

“The option therefore, until there are permanent openings, is to either engage them in the way proposed, or leave them on the breadline,” the health minister explained.

“As a responsible, caring government, we do not believe the second option is a practical one, especially since the Association publicly stated that these nurses are eager to contribute to the public health care system. The union must now state clearly whether or not it is opposed to the principle of employment…”.

PWU president Adrian Francis is currently away on medical leave.

Rachel Roberts is the acting president of PWU.








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