All well again at Mental
Nurses at the Psychiatric hospital will be back on the job tomorrow after more than a dozen failed to report to work over the last two days.
The Unity Workers Union, which represents the nurses, ordered a sickout to highlight a number of grievances.
General Secretary Caswell Franklyn told Barbados TODAY, the protesting nurses have agreed to end the sickout ahead of a meeting with acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Tennyson Springer to discuss these grievances.
“The permanent secretary called me this morning. I am trying to see if we can meet later today or early tomorrow morning.
“The action will stop and we will give them time to fix our problems. If they aren’t fixed, the action will be reinstated, and this time it will not be a sickout,” Franklyn warned.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY yesterday, the director of the Black Rock mental health facility David Leacock said he was not notified about the planned industrial action and he could not say what led workers to the protest.
But Franklyn, who insisted that the problems dated back to August last year, complained that the employees had been forced to endure deplorable working conditions and to work longer-than-normal shifts without compensation.
“You have a situation where the two nurses that work at night sometimes have 60 to 70 patients. These patients are not geriatric. They are strong, able-bodied persons. You know that’s a recipe for disaster.
“These nurses are required to work more than any other nurses in Barbados. We have been complaining about this for [much too] long. They work an additional eight hours every week, they are not paid for it [and] they are not compensated for it. They want to work the same hours that the nurses at the QEH work.”
Franklin insisted this week’s sickout could have been avoided if the authorities had delivered on promises to rectify the problems.
“Why are we waiting for a crisis to have the meeting? We have been asking for this meeting since August last year. We want a timetable to fix our grievances,” he said.