Nurses continue 'sit-in' over meal allowance By Michel Outridge
Guyana Chronicle
February 5, 2004

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Nurses of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) who said that they were "frustrated" staged another sit-out in the compound of the institution yesterday after the Guyana Public Service (GPSU) stepped in to support their demands for an increase of $20,000 per month for meal allowances.

Currently nurses are receiving only $4,000 per month; an amount, which they say, is grossly inadequate.

About 50 nurses reported for work but staged a sit-out in the compound after the statements made by management on Tuesday regarding their attitude and behavior during the sit-out.

A check at the hospital yesterday saw a skeleton staff of nurses operating in the two treatment rooms of the Accident & Emergency Unit with the absence of the General Medical Officers (GMO's) who reported for work but later left their post.

The scene did not change much yesterday except that the nurses were even more upset because they did not get any information regarding management's decisions to resolve the meal allowances issue. And the statements also made by management regarding their attitude and behavior on Tuesday.

GPSU Branch Secretary, Ms. Trotz said yesterday that the nurses are really upset because of the press release issued to the media regarding their attitude and behavior during the sit-out.

She noted that although this is the second day of the sit-out by nurses and GMO's, management has since failed to resolve matters and they will be forced to continue the sit-out.

According to GPSU Branch Ms. Trotz, the two-day sit-out came in wake of the foot-dragging attitude of management of GPHC since 2003, after negotiations between the GPSU and GPHC for the increase.

The GPSU said that it will serve the hospital administration with a one-month ultimatum to honour the payout.

If the nurses are not paid the increase necessary action will be implemented, said Ms. Trotz.

While the nurses were on sit-out yesterday scores of people who went to the institution for medical attention were queued in long lines in the hope of being treated. Some patients went elsewhere to seek medical attention.

At the Accident & Emergency Unit cases that need urgent treatment took a long time to be attended to because of inadequate staff.

Even though the Guyana Chronicle was unable to verify what the situation was in the various wards of the hospital some reports suggest that many patients were left unattended.

In the treatment rooms a skeleton staff attended to emergency cases.

In a press release on Tuesday, GPHC management said that it is in negotiation with GPSU for members of the nursing staff who withheld their services during the sit-out without proper notification.

Discussions between GPHC and GPSU centered on the new Recognition Agreement to establish procedures for the Avoidance of Settlement of Dispute.