Workers employed within the Sterilization Unit at Victoria Hospital are back on the job.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, Sterilization Unit workers withdrew their services because of occupational safety and health concerns.
However, according to a press release today, August 22 from the National Workers Union (NWU), a conversation between Health Minister Mary Isaac and officials from the NWU was “quite productive”.
The NWU said the minister “gave her word” that all will be done urgently to resolve the industrial issues at the Unit.
“As promised, the appropriate action was taken and as a result, the employees are back on the job,” the NWU release states.
“Going forward the NWU officials are of the opinion that Victoria Hospital Management requires a serious administrative shake up. The Hospital should not be used as a dumping ground for disciplinary transfer of workers. Victoria Hospital could do well but must be equipped with persons well trained in hospital management,” the NWU further states.
According to Senior Industrial Relations Specialist at the NWU, Lawrence Poyette, who visited the unit on Monday morning, staff qualms include a faulty air conditioning unit, a leaky ceiling and rubbish dump located at the back of the unit.
“The AC is not working. You have a seepage of water from the ceiling which is resulting in unnecessary moisture and the potential for mold. You also have a situation where the screens on the doors which are supposed to prevent the influx of insects; all the screens are broken and what makes it worse is the presence of a rubbish dump to the back.
“So given what is being done in the Central Sterilizing Unit and the implications for the employees, the employees decided that they should not continue working in there until the matter is resolved,” he had said.
The Unit is responsible for cleaning, sterilizing and storing medical and surgical items and equipment used for patient care at the Victoria Hospital. The unit also serves the Tapion Hospital.
According to Poyette, authorities were given up to midday Monday to address staff concerns.
“…We give them until 12 o’clock to address everything, and we’re hoping that good sense will prevail and that it would be addressed by 12 because currently the Unit is sterilizing all the equipment required for surgery and for use in the hospital and it is also providing service to the Tapion Hospital. So given the implications for the health of the nation, and given the implications for the employees who are directly involved we are of the opinion that the authorities should pay serious attention and try to address this matter as soon as possible,” Poyette said Monday morning to HTS News4orce who has reported that a follow-up phone call later in the day revealed that a new air conditioning unit was installed at the department and that staff will report to work on Tuesday but only if there are better working conditions.