The nurses attached to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), who have been participating in industrial action, were officially informed by the Ministry of Health, that their salaries will be cut for the days they were absent from duty. It has been close to two months, the nurses, with support from the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), have been protesting for the removal of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LHC, Rudy Small.
In a missive sent to all nurses who have been protesting, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Malcolm Watkins, informed the nurses that they will not be paid for a total of 19 days that they were absent from duty. He also reiterated that the correspondence serves as a warning. “Please consider this letter as a warning, in keeping with Section G of the Public Service Rules as produced hereunder.” Third breach to the offence he said, will lead to dismissal. The letter was dated April 9th, 2021
We shall not be moved
One of the nurses who received the letter said she along with her colleagues will not be moved by the warning letter and by the threat to cut their salaries. She said that over 100 nurses have joined the industrial action and have been working in shifts. The nurses continue to block the office of the CEO, who has not been showing up for work as a result of this. On Wednesday, they were joined by senior officials from the GPSU. In an invited comment, Industrial Relations Officer of the GPSU Maurice Butters, said the Union will be taking legal action against the Ministry and will continue to support the nurses’ industrial action.
The nurses started the protest a few week ago, after a leaked conversation between the CEO and a blogger revealed that he was using derogatory remarks about them and their conduct. They are also calling for his removal because of alleged inappropriate conduct, poor leadership and management skills, amongst other things. The nurses said that they are awaiting an engagement from the Ministry on the matter but have not been received an audience with the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony or any other senior personnel since they commenced the industrial action. The Ministry remains resolute that no engagement will be done with the nurses under duress.