Nurses island-wide have also joined the bandwagon in rejecting government’s proposed five per cent wage cut.
President of the St. Lucia Nurses’ Association (SLNA) Lydia Leonce said the nurses rejected the proposal during a meeting held at Victoria Hospital this afternoon.
Leonce said the three-year collective bargaining agreement between the SLNA and government expired in 2013 and was up for renewal. However, this was delayed until this year’s budget, where government indicated that a cut in public servants salaries is imminent based on the current fiscal situation the island is faced with.
The SLNA head said that nurses expressed dissatisfaction with regards to the way in which the proposal was made. However, they have decided they will not accept a cut in their salary at any point.
Leonce said she will take this decision to the next meeting scheduled to take place between government and trade union representatives. However, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony had stated that government will do all it can to get consensus on the matter, but if this is unsuccessful, then it will take whatever action is necessary to put the island in a better financial position.
Asked whether the SLNA plans to take industrial action if such a move is taken, Leonce said “We are hoping it doesn’t go that way. The association plans to deal with the issue professionally.”
The SLNA head also expressed dissatisfaction at the move, saying the proposal is being made at a time when the island is facing a shortage of nurses.
She said a five-per cent cut could have negative effects on the profession and affect the quality of service being provided to patients.
Nurses, she explained, are led to work beyond the call of duty and with limited resources, and that a cut in their salary will only lead to a demotivated work force.