Industrial action averted at QEH

Industrial action at the state-owned Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has been called off after the hospital reached agreement with the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) on a 24-hour shift system at the Pathology Department.

The QEH advised staff of the department on December 30 that it would begin the shift system on January 1, 2016, angering the union, which responded by threatening industrial action unless the two sides sat to discuss several areas of concern related to the 24-hour system.

The NUPW’s field officer attached to the hospital Natalie Murray told Barbados TODAY at the time that the union was not opposed to it but demanded prior consultation to address critical issues such as health and safety and remuneration.

The proposed action was called off after the management of the QEH agreed to defer the introduction of the shift system when the two sides met on Tuesday.

And yesterday, NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith reported that her delegation left that meeting having secured important concessions.

Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW)  Roslyn Smith.
Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW)
Roslyn Smith.

“The matter of the implementation has been postponed until certain things are put in place. We discussed a number of issues, but the
core issue would be the additional staff that would be needed to properly implement the shift system at the hospital,” Smith told
Barbados TODAY.

She said a request for 14 additional workers, including support staff, had been forwarded to the Ministry of the Civil Service and she looked forward to a speedy response, “because it is a very critical area” that was being discussed.

“So we are satisfied so far with the discussions and we will continue to have dialogue,” the union boss added.

When contacted, the QEH’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Dexter James confirmed that the new shift system had not yet been introduced, but he could not say how soon it would begin.

Dr Dexter James
Dr Dexter James

“Not at the moment, but soon. [I] can’t say right now [when it will be implemented] but there are some things that we have to put in place and when that is done you would be apprised on this,” assured the health institution’s chief.

The union complained last month that some employers were bent on by-passing the age-old consultation process which has been an
integral aspect of good industrial relations and best practices.

It also warned it would adopt a more militant approach this year and would no longer tolerate employers who failed to honour collective bargaining agreements.

The union had earlier accused the hospital management of not responding to several of its letters regarding the present issue of a 24-hour shift system in the Pathology Department.
emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

One Response to Industrial action averted at QEH

  1. D M BLACKMAN January 8, 2016 at 7:57 am

    MY TAKE ON THIS IS THAT A 24 HR SHIFT SYSTEM ALSO MEANS THAT CERTAIN COLLECTIVE BARGAIN ARRANGEMENT MUST BE AN ADJUVANT TO PROCESS FOR EXAMPLE. A PROPER AND STRUCTURED SHIFT ALLOWANCE ACROSS THE WHOLE PATHOLOGY DEPT. IF PRESENT SOME EMPLOYEES WORKING FROM 8:30 TO 4:40 ARE BEING ROSTERED PERFORM ADDITIONAL DUTIES AFTER 4:30. THEN THIS CREATE AN ISSUE OF CONCERN AND THE MANAGEMENT IS AWARE OF THIS. ALSO THOSE NEW EMPLOYEES IN THE PATHOLOGY DEPT WHO PERFORM THE SAME TASK AS OTHER COLLEAGUE WERE UNKNOWINGLY DUPED TO WORK UNDER A DIFFERENT CONDITIONS OF SERVICE, BY LAB MANAGEMENT, THEN THIS IS PRACTICAL MAL-ADMINISTRATIVE TRAVESTY ON ALL THE STAFF OF THE QEH.
    MY CASE IN POINT IS THAT IF ALL THE SUBTLETIES ARE REVEALED THE SHIFT SYSTEM WILL EVENTUALLY DIP MORE INTO ACCOUNTS PAYABLE OF THE QEH.
    MY THEORY IS THAT IF LAB MANAGEMENT WISH TO INFLUENCE SOME EMPLOYEES IN A MANNER TO GET MORE OUT OF THE WORKERS FOR LESS PAY THEN THIS MAY ALSO BE A CONCERN.
    IF THE OVERALL EXPENDITURE ON OVERTIME AT THE QEH COULD TOTAL AS MUCH AS 30 MILLION DOLLARS/MONTH THAT MERELY SET AN ALREADY UNWANTED PRECEDENT THAT THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT TO GRAPPLE WITH.
    IT HAS TO BE A WIN /WIN OUT COME FOR BOTH SIDES AND NOT JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE.
    IT IS TIME THAT UNION MEMBERS PRESS FOR A SINGLE DIGIT OR FACTORIAL INCREMENT IN THEIR PAY PACKET TO OFFSET THE FISCAL TAXES THAT HAVE BURDENED THE CIVIL/GOVERNMENT WORKERS OF THIS BELOVED COUNTRY SINCE APRIL 2009 YET THESE EMPLOYEES HAS TO DIG IN THEIR PURSE OR SAVINGS TO PAY AS MUCH AS $700.00 ANNUALLY TO REGISTER TO PRACTICE THEIR PARAMEDICAL PROFESSION.
    SINCE THE INSTALLATION OF THE EXECUTIVE, INTERNAL ACCOUNTING ISSUES AT THE QEH HAS BROUGHT A MATTER OF CONCERN TO THE PUBLIC OF BARBADOS.
    IF EMPLOYEES ARE CONCERN THAT THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY IS BEING TAXED, YET THEIR NIS DEDUCTIONS NOT BEING VALIDATED OR SUBMITTED TO THE NIS IN A TIMELY MANNER THEN THESE INTERNAL MATTERS CANNOT GO UNFIXED.
    I HOPE FOR A BRIGHTER 2017-2017 THAT WILL ALLOW OUR DEDICATED EMPLOYEES ACHIEVE MORE TO “GET THERE TOGETHER”
    WE ARE NOT IN THE “DARK AGES”BUT “DARK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES WILL PUT US”. THAT’S WHY THERE IS THE UNION.

    Reply

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