President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Brian Grimes has said that mental health workers on the island are still protesting against their working conditions.
The protest action started a few weeks ago and stemmed from a lack of tools to fulfil their job requirements, unpaid claims, and understaffing at the island’s sole Mental Health facility at Mt Gay.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Grimes said that the tools are needed in order to allow the workers to carry out their duties like administering medicine, and taking care of the mentally challenged.
He also said that some of the other issues apart from part payment of their mileage allowance are still outstanding.
“…Apart from correspondence that we wrote, we ask that we get a sit down with the Minister of Health Hon. Johnathan La Crette,” he said.
According to the union leader, since the Minister of Health was introduced to take charge of the portfolio following the June 2022 election and change of government, the PWU has not gotten an opportunity to sit and discuss matters with him.
Public Relations Officer of PWU, Daisy Hazzard warned that the union will not back down until something is done.
She spoke of PWU receiving word from the Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Mental Health nurses asking to give them some more time.
“Well, how much more time? 20 years have not been enough, 26 years have not been enough, 1 year has not been enough so how much more time? So no, we are not able to do that,” she quipped.
During the PWU press briefing, Grimes noted that Minister for Mobilisation Implementation and Transformation (MIT) Andy Williams was spotted in the area where the protest action was taking place and the workers were grateful that a minister was interested in their plight and grievances.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Minister William’s visit to Mt Gay Hospital was unrelated to the protest and that when he saw the workers engaged in protest action he then engaged them.
Grimes announced that as of October 9, 2023, there has been a slight shift in government’s position regarding the community mental health workers.
He said that the Union has received correspondence from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health indicating that five of the ten workers received the mileage that they claimed to cover the September/October period of last year.
However, the PWU boss believes more can be done by the government than just giving 50% of their claim for mileage.