Govt & GPSU jointly meet with healthcare workers to address issues

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Nurses during the protest exercise in Linden

An investigative team comprising of representatives from the Guyana Government and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has visited public health facilities and met with healthcare workers across the country with an aim of addressing the issues of this section of frontline workers.

Nurses and other healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic have been protesting, calling for increased risk allowance among other benefits.

They had even planned a strike.

But the GPSU has since called off their planned strike action and is now working with government to address the concerns of the healthcare workers.

Last week, the Union said it will give government two weeks to do this.

In a statement on Wednesday, GPSU said that the team visited healthcare facilities within Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice) and the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC).

During these visits, the team met with all categories of frontline healthcare workers and the management representatives at each facility.

A number of issues was raised by the healthcare workers ranging from inadequate provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to non-payment of Risk Allowances for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GPSU said it is pleased with the team’s interface so far with the healthcare workers, noting that the positive outcomes and views solicited during this exercise is very enlightening and encouraging.

Moreover, the Union is anticipating “an urgent and positive response from the Government as it relates to the payment of the risk allowances to these hardworking healthcare workers.”

Only last week, President Irfaan Ali had assured nurses and other healthcare workers that there will be major improvements to their livelihood under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration.