Message to Public Officers from President of the Public Workers Union (PWU) Rachel Roberts
Sister and Brothers, Public Officers, Comrades, it is days away from the celebration of the Birth of our Lord and Saviour and we are in a very challenging period of exposure of positive COVID-19 cases, that is affecting diverse geographical locations, institutions, homes and families. This is frightening.
Grenada Public Workers’ Union (GPWU) as the representative for Public Sector Workers is very concerned about this new development. A vast majority of our members are working daily on the frontline. The geographic spread of COVID-19 can be extremely grievous to many workers, who must expose themselves more, to travel to and from work by public transportation on a daily basis.
Particular attention on this issue must be given to healthcare professionals, e.g the Community Nurses and doctors who are in direct contact with positive clients, performing rapid and PCR testing, doing contact tracing, comforting and counselling.
Due to the increased numbers of positive cases and contact tracings, these workers can be faced with heavy workload, which may result in serious physical exhaustion, impaired physiological needs and tremendous stress, and other psychological problems.
Further, our health care system was already compromised before the onset of the COVID -19 Virus to our shores, experiencing shortages of Registered Nurses and Midwives, other health personnel and limited material resources.
The media describe this as the largest COVID-19 spread within the Eastern Caribbean.
GPWU along with the GTAWU made recommendations to the Government of Grenada as early as May 2020, to safeguard workplace Occupational Safety and Health, in regard to COVID-19 as best as possible. In this light, we implore our employers who have not yet implemented these recommendations to please do so speedily in the interest of protecting workers lives. (Already, we know one member has contracted the virus and understands a frontline member maybe now also be compromised.)
We must not and should not risk the lives of any worker to this dangerous virus. The necessary systems must be put in place to ensure these workers are equipped physically and mentally to encounter the challenges that will materialise.
GPWU calls on the Government of Grenada, and all our employers to please protect workers’ rights, allow them to feel safe at their place of work by providing them with quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) at all times. There must be no discrimination in this regard.
GPWU also calls for special transportation to be provided for health care workers so that they are sufficiently isolated and afforded a greater level of protection from contracting the deadly virus. They are humans too and their lives matter. All Public Officers lives matter.
GPWU appeals to the Government of Grenada and the Ministry of Health to take decisive action now, to act now to save lives. We can rebuild an economy but we cannot bring back a life. Therefore, we should never put economy over people and money over life. Please act now to save lives.
As we fight COVID-19, GPWU makes a serious request to the Government of Grenada to please appoint our members.
Mr. Prime Minister, as you and your Cabinet and all of us continue to thank healthcare workers, we ask you to stop disadvantaging and discriminating against them, give them Permanent PSC appointments. Respect, and honour them. They are few in numbers and must care for the population.
GPWU calls on Public Officers to continue to exercise vigilance as you venture out to and from work and in your community. Please ensure that you wear all the necessary PPEs to secure your safety and that of your families, friends and other persons.
We thank you and salute you, for your invaluable service to our Nation. May you have a Merry, safe Christmas and a bright and prosperous 2021 – WE love you all.