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Job security, pension rights main concerns for Nurses Association ahead of OKEU transition

[Press Release] Though the transitioning of the Victoria Hospital to the Owen King EU Hospital has been progressing steadily VH staff has been both anxious and apprehensive about their tenure of service. Nurses are among the group of workers clamoring for more information and clarification on the staffing arrangements for the Millennium Heights Medical Complex.

The Executive of the St. Lucia Nurses Association (SLNA) met the officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness which included the Permanent Secretary, Felix St. Hill, to discuss issues pertinent to nurses under the Millennium Height Medical Complex. President of the SLNA, Alisha Jn Baptiste stated that the association seeks to ensure “that no nurse, at no time will be placed in a poorer situation.”

“Ensuring that at no time any of our members are disadvantaged. That their pension rights remain something that they can be confident are secured.”

The president highlighted one of the main points raised at the meeting which she can now bring to her members.

“We were informed today that a committee has been put in place for negotiations. So we know now that we will be meeting with that committee and we will be able to bring to the negotiating team what we are looking for, for our members and also to bring our members back the information and at all times discus with them the way forward.”

The Permanent Secretary stated that the meeting with the SLNA forms part of regular quarterly meetings the ministry holds with staff association and unions who represent the various categories of workers at the department.

“So basically, we have a number of issues that we’re try to resolve so they don’t get blown out of proportion and so today I must say we are having a very cordial meeting with the St. Lucia Nurses Association. Albeit, the focus as we would probably expect is on commissioning of services at the Millennium Heights Medical Complex and to probably iron out a number of misconceptions that have been going around. So far, I think we are having a very cordial meeting with the nurses association and I think we have resolved quite a bit of those issues.”

The nursing association is also seeking some specific assurances on behalf of its members.

“We are happy that we are now getting the information that we can pass onto our members because in the absence of information there is a lot of speculation and so we feel more confident to go to our members now and discuss with them and now what is the way forward.”

The association looks forward to continued dialog and involvement in the process of commissioning the Owen King EU Hospital and the full implementation of the Millennium Heights Medical Complex Act. The meeting took place on Thursday 18th April 2018.

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