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Sando hospital staff say no to shutdown

Staff at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) have said no to sickout action proposed by the Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke to force Government to move away from its zero, zero, one position.  “There will be no shutting down, no work stoppage at the SFGH by any member of staff,” Merlin Barrow, former PSA staff representative, told Duke when he visited the hospital last Friday. “We don’t have the virus here. Here we are taken care of. We don’t have the cough,” she said in the presence of hospital CEO Paula Chester-Cumberbatch, medical director Dr Anand Chatoorgoon and other members of staff. Earlier, staff had walked out of a meeting with Duke, after giving him an ultimatum, “to reinstate Rosanna Robinson (first vice president),” who was among a number of executive members suspended earlier this year. The suspension caused a split among PSA members in the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), some of whom have stopped supporting the union’s action.

Duke admitted his visit to the hospital was “to get the SWRHA members heavily involved in activities of the PSA once again.” However during a heated meeting he was told “unless you fix PSA business first, you cannot do other business. Get your house in order first.” A member of the nursing staff told the Guardian: “I vote for Rosanna. By suspending her, you are now infringing on my rights. “We told him, unless you put back Rosanna as the representative in the South, we not saying anything.” Following the confrontation, Duke told the Guardian the workers’ ultimatum was one of the many issues aired, “and I will see how best I could treat with that.

“All of that is now engaging my attention. I am hoping that whatever decision is made by the executive, will take into consideration the contribution the South has made, is making and will continue to make.” He asserted, however, “there is no bacchanal here. There is a level of interest involved here and definitely I am trying to satisfy that interest in the best way I know how.” Chester-Cumberbatch, who also met with Duke, said: “The meeting was part of our regular non-crisis meeting. We don’t have to wait for a crisis or wait on the union.” She said the SWRHA cannot function without a happy and productive work force and as managers, they take their roles very seriously to entertain workers and discuss any issues they may have.

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