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posted 22 Oct 2015, 01:56 by Gerry Kangalee
The SWRHA Branch of the National Health Workers Union (NHWU) will be holding its monthly meeting as previously agreed on the 4th Monday of the month (i.e. Monday 26th October) at the Union's Office at #4 Hart Street, San Fernando starting at 4:30 pm. This meeting is exclusively for members of the SWRHA Branch.

We congratulate the NHWU members for heeding our call not to participate in the bogus election that was scheduled yesterday at the nurses’ lounge. Those who organised this charade showed contempt for and insulted the intelligence of SWRHA members by trying to railroad them into participating in an “election” which was not properly organised and structured.

Imagine an “election” not under the control of an election committee whose responsibility would be to ensure a free and fair exercise so that all members throughout SWRHA including those on shift, those in the health centres, Area Hospitals and extended care facilities could participate.

Yesterday’s fiasco did not involve the publication of a listing of members entitled to vote, posted in enough time so that members could scrutinise the list for omissions and corrections; a properly advertised nomination period and procedures for nomination; a widely-advertised explanation on how the elections would be carried out, where ballot boxes would be placed and how they would be handled; how the non-SFGH members would be accommodated; the recruitment of poll clerks etc.

To add grievous insult to injury, the bogus exercise was orchestrated by an NCRHA worker who has resigned from the Union, having the gall to tell NHWU members of SWRHA who must be their representatives. When, due to the good sense of SWRHA members the fiasco was laid bare, this individual hand-picked a committee, supposedly to guide the affairs of the SWRHA branch. It certainly boggles the mind!

This Master - Servant relationship must not be tolerated, whether from the management of SWRHA or from those who believe the union is a vehicle for personal aggrandisement and not to achieve the ultimate objective of attaining recognised majority union status and achieving a collective agreement.

On a positive note, the process of taking up your grievances continues and reports on these will be given at the branch meeting of Monday 26th September. Special attention is being paid to health and safety problems at both San Fernando and Point Fortin and members can rest assured that grievances that are not resolved at bilateral level will certainly be forwarded to the Ministry of Labour and, if necessary, the Industrial Court. There is not going to be any bligh extended to SWRHA’s management for their inefficiency and incompetence in dealing with workers’ issues.

A word of advice: One of the benchmarks of the NHWU as a progressive trade union is that its representatives on the shop-floor must not only be model employees with a track record of punctuality and discipline but must serve their co-workers honestly, without fear or favour as we strive towards achieving a Collective Agreement.
Gerry Kangalee,
22 Oct 2015, 01:56