Without the GPSU conditionsof service for nurses would have been worse

Dear Editor,

We, the nurses and members of Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), disassociate ourselves from the article by Mr Sase Singh in the Kaieteur News of May 11, 2016.

The article shows clearly that Mr Singh is trying to misinform the readership and is not au fait with the nurses-GPSU relationship. In this regard he is not competent or privileged to speak on our behalf. Our continued relationship with the GPSU has resulted in several successful representations being made that redound to the benefit of the members (nurses).  These include:

 

  1. Compensation for higher education
  2. Increase in uniform allowance
  3. Increase in meals allowance
  4. Risk allowance for nurses attached to

the Psychiatric Hospital

  1. Representation that resulted in the reinstatement of several nursing staff members
  2. Education programmes locally and overseas that benefit nurses
  3. Representation for gratuity payments to nurses at the Linden Hospital Complex
  4. Other benefits

 

While we recognize that there are adverse conditions facing us in the daily execution of our duties, we are caring people who take into consideration the safety, health, care and well-being of our fellow humans. In this regard we will continue to offer due care and consideration, under the guidance of our union, when it comes to respond to the conditions facing us. This does not mean that we will indefinitely sit idly by and allow our rights to be trampled upon continually.

Mr Singh stated that “if one evaluates the past salary deliberations between the GPSU and the Jagdeo/ Ramotar administrations, one can find a history of underperformance, weak militancy, and poor advocacy.” It seems as though Mr Singh has just awoken from his Rip Van Winkle-like slumber, since he fails to recognize the Jagdeo/Ramotar administrations did not care for good governance, the rule of law, the constitution or the ILO conventions ratified by the Parliament of Guyana.  Our union made repeated calls for collective bargaining agreements to be honoured. However, this fell on deaf ears which resulted in us, the nurses, led by our union, taking protest action in  2013, 2014 and 2015.

While we the nurses agree we all deserve a living wage, one must recognize that the GPSU is not the only stakeholder; the Ministry of Labour plays a pivotal role in the industrial relations climate and we are aware that many times matters which were sent to them by the GPSU for conciliation were not resolved, or were not even dealt with in some cases ‒ for example in 2013 when the GPSU approached the Ministry of Labour for conciliation in the wages and salary dispute, and an imposition was made and the Ministry of Labour shelved the matter. Also many nurses are still traumatized after been shot with pellets in the 1999 strike and some still have pellets in their bodies.

It is not for Mr Singh to advocate a change in the leadership of the union. The union is a democratic organization where every member has a chance to elect its leaders once the rules are  observed. This is done every four years.

With respect to the suggestion of an interim pay-out we, the nurses, welcome this suggestion and we are of the firm view that our union will not object to same but continue to make representation and demand that negotiations for wages, salaries and allowances be commenced and concluded expeditiously.

We, the nurses, feel insulted by the reference being made to the GPSU as the George Daniels Union. Just in case Mr Singh is not up to date with information, George Daniels deserted the GPSU at a most critical time in its history.

Let it also be known that without the GPSU, the most outstanding union in Guyana under its current leadership, our conditions of service would have been worse.

Yours faithfully,

A Brutus and 44 other nurses’

representatives  

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