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posted 26 Oct 2015, 05:03 by Gerry Kangalee
On 2015-10-25, Dave Smith, the General Secretary of the National Health Workers Union wrote the following letter to Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert:


The National Health Workers Union (NHWU) is forced to, once again, correspond with you about a matter which is causing great anxiety to health workers throughout the public health system. On 2015.09.18, we wrote to you and among other things said: “The NHWU had demanded of the former Minister of Finance that health workers be paid their new rates by August month end and that their retroactive payments be made by September month end.

He complied with the first demand but has now demitted office. The NHWU now calls upon you to have the back pay effected to these long suffering workers at the end of September...however we are certain that you and the entire country are aware of the pivotal role health care workers play in the society. These monies represent payment due since 2011; these workers have been very patient.”

We are now close to the end of October. While we understand that the government has been caught up in the budget debate, we were quite disappointed that at no time during the debate was any indication given about when health care workers would receive their retroactive payments.

Health workers were disheartened at your statement in the 2016 budget speech: “the previous administration has encumbered the new Government with $5.0 billion in arrears of salaries based on the conclusion of collective agreements with a number of trade unions in the frenzied run-up to the 2015 Election.” Your statement suggests that you believe the last government should not have settled workers’ just demands for a decent wage increase, which in the case of the health workers they had not received since 2010.

We are calling upon you as Minister of Finance to initiate, as soon as possible, the procedure to have health workers receive their retroactive payments. We demand that you give the instruction so that the monies can be released and the anxiety of health workers can be made to dissipate.

Failure to do so will increase the frustrations of health workers and may well result in action similar to that taken by them when the last administration attempted to pussy foot with the payment of their wage increase.

Dave Smith

General Secretary