Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎


posted 8 Sep 2015, 10:11 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 8 Sep 2015, 10:12 ]
The National Health Workers Union (NHWU) wishes to thank and congratulate all health workers in the public health care system for their resilience and steadfastness in their just struggles for improvements in their working environments, paltry salaries and other terms and conditions of employment.

Your success in having the 14% salary adjustment effected at August month’s end instead of the promised September date is testimony to what can be achieved via unity and militancy.

Monthly paid health care workers were able to rise above the hate and venom of the worst Minister of Health in the history of Trinidad and Tobago and also the absence of a union with Recognised Majority Union (RMU) status and a collective agreement. Instead workers responded to calls on the shop floor for a united response to issues which affected them across all categories and in each of the RHAs.

The NHWU is pleased with the leading role played by our officers, activists and members in all of these initiatives. We were prominent at all demonstrations, our flags, banners and placards were held high in Port of Spain, San Fernando, Couva (Children’s Hospital) and Point Fortin. Our public relations were professionally handled by activists and officers of the “parent body” NWU; our social media visibility peaked as thousands of hits were recorded on our Face Book page and website. Also hundreds of “lights” also went out or were dimmed significantly during the period of the struggle.

It was this coming together of Health Care Professionals across ALL categories of staff that forced the Minister of Finance to find money one month earlier. There are many lessons to be learned from this recent experience;

1)    Unity is strength. Most of the problems in the health care sector affect all workers across all classifications. Indeed they also affect all patients too. It makes little sense to try to address these problems in a piecemeal manner which will allow management to play one group against the other.

2)    Recognised Majority Union (RMU) status is your life blood. Its absence is the reason that that there is no negotiation on your behalf for salaries, pensions, medical, etc. This is the reason that the RHA’s are able to unilaterally reduce your benefits.

3)    Collective Agreement. This is the document which your RMU with the management will put in place. This will secure all your terms and conditions of employment and can only be changed via negotiations.

Comrades do not allow your next negotiation to follow this and all your previous salary adjustments whereby you are given just a tiny part of a negotiation process which is specific for Public Officers. You need your own negotiation which will address your specific needs. Your own union, representing all health workers is your best bet.

Going forward the NHWU intends to demand that your back pay must be paid at September month’s end. This is our position regardless of who won the general election. A debt is a debt and must be paid. We want we money…RIGHT NOW!