NUPW responds to workers’ Ebola concerns
Complaints from frontline public officers that they are not properly equipped to process suspected Ebola patients have been addressed.
The border security officers, such as Immigration and Customs employees, had reported the matter to their bargaining agent, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).
After making representation to the ministry, the NUPW has revealed that training for the frontline workers will start by the end of next week.
Acting General Secretary of the union Roslyn Smith told Barbados TODAY she was able to secure a meeting today with the workers and the Chief Medical Officer Dr Joy St John to thrash out the concerns.
Smith said the two-and-a-half hour meeting ended with a commitment by the Ministry to start a series of training sessions for border security officers, adding that the workers were pleased with the outcome of the talks.
“It was a very open democratic meeting where the workers raised their concerns and at the end of the meeting they were reasonably satisfied with the information given,” Smith said.
“This is only one in a series of meetings,” she added while noting that similar discussions would be held shortly at the Bridgetown Port.
She also noted that a number of protocols were being formulated in the interest of the workers.
“It is not a one-line [approach]. It is not a case that you can . . . say that everything will be stopped at the airport. But in the event that someone slipped through and they seek medical attention, there are protocols within all of the institutions. And of course you hear of the isolation centre. So it is a wide range of healthcare personnel.”
As far as the controversial local isolation centre was concerned, Smith said the NUPW had not yet taken a position on the matter. She recalled that various locations had been initially identified, including the St Lucy District Hospital and the Barbados Defence Force base at Paragon in Christ Church, both of which were eventually scrapped.