EWMSC staff warned
By LARA PICKFORD-GORDON Saturday, October 27 2012
Warning letters have been issued to staff of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, who have been signing the attendance register, but failing to carry out their duties.
Members of staff of different departments have been withholding their labour on the grounds of poor work conditions, and occupational health and safety issues. They have also been lobbying for a resolution of arrears of salary and allowances 2008-2010.
Chief Executive Officer, Collin Bissessar, yesterday said workers were engaging in an illegal protest, and have been advised to desist. The workers are represented by the Public Services Association, but the union does not have Recognised Majority Union status for the RHA workers.
“There is the option we can deduct payment, for them signing and leaving, and not being available,” Bissessar said in an interview.
Staff of the Medical Records department have been staying away from their posts due to work conditions. As a result, files for outpatients of clinics could not be accessed, and the absence of customer service representatives has led to patients being unable to get new appointments.
Bissessar said the medical records staff had left their work stations, and there was 60 percent service. “Clinics ran, but as a result of the action they saw fewer numbers and waiting times would increase considerably,” he said.
There were surgeries yesterday “as usual” but Bissessar said there may be some surgeries cancelled this week. On Fridays the assessment for anaesthesia clinic is done, but had to be cancelled because files could not be accessed.
Asked how the NCRHA was dealing with workers’ action, he said, “we are trying to pull staff, and doubling up.” One of the issues highlighted by the PSA is that the air ducts have not been cleaned for many years. Bissessar said a contract was signed with Climate Control, and the personnel were on site yesterday. Commenting on complaints from workers that their National Insurance Scheme payments have not been made, he said the National Insurance Board (NIB) responded to the NCRHA and said all payments were up to date. He said no employees have taken their complaints to the Finance Department.
PSA staff representative for EWMSC workers, Keith Bailey reported that only first time patients were being seen at clinics and “all other patients are being given new appointments.”
Bailey said the patients files not being available created problems for “certain surgeries.”
There has been no communication with management since last Thursday’s meeting with the Board Chairman Dr Ashvin Sharma and other executive members, to discuss workers’ concerns. Bailey described the meeting as “fruitless.”