GUYANA: Gov’t agrees to negotiations; GPSU agrees to suspend nurses’ industrial unrest

—- COVID-19 Update:  Three more deaths announced today – Total now 98

The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) on Wednesday agreed to suspend industrial unrest by nurses to pave the way for negotiations between the GPSU and  the Guyana government over the next two weeks, according to well-placed sources.

The agreement was inked by GPSU Vice President Dawn Gardener and government representative, Dr. Jennifer Westford.

DETAILS LATER 

Details of the accord were not immediately available, but it effectively stalls a  strike-plan that the union had intended to call from Wednesday on expiration of a 72-hour ultimatum on Tuesday. The nurses are pressing demands for increased salaries, more personal protective equipment and increased COVID-19 risk allowances for frontline healthcare workers.

The GPSU has been avoiding media questions about efforts to resolve the dispute, and had never made any mention of backdoor consultations with the government through Dr. Westford. Union officials have instead said a news conference would be held or a press statement would be issued.

Vice President Gardener, General Secretary Kempton Alexander and Dr. Westford have over the last few days been visiting the West Demerara Regional Hospital, hospitals in Linden and Berbice, and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation to get a sense of the grievances.

The joint delegation met with GPHC nurse representatives at that health care institution on Tuesday.

After Attorney General Anil Nandlall threatened the nurses and the union with criminal charges, dismissals and violation of the laws, the turnout by the nurses has waned down to double-digit figures.


Three more fatalities from  COVID-19, death toll at 98

Three more persons have died from COVID-19, taking the death toll to 98.

The latest fatalities are a 41-year-old female, a 64-year-old male, both from Region 4 (Demerara-Mahaica) and a 58-year-old male from Region 1 (Barima-Waini). These persons died while receiving care at the ministry’s medical facility.
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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 8, 2020 at 2:06 am

    To have essential services workers threatened with criminal charges for exercising their human right to negotiate working conditions – hearkens back to the days of slavery, it seems to me.

    This is 2020, and high time we had MANDATORY arbitration/dispute resolution agreements for essential services workers.

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