JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Hon Pearnel Charles, has said that if registered nurses employed at public institutions do not resume normality by Thursday morning (April 8), the Ministry will take the matter of their sick-out to the Supreme Court.
“We will wait and see what happens Thursday morning, before we decide whether to proceed to the Court or not,” Mr. Charles told JIS News, Wednesday night (April 7). Nurses are listed as part of the Essential Services under the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act (LRIDA) for whom it is illegal to take industrial action.
The Supreme Court issued a 14-day injunction on March 3, barring further industrial action by the registered nurses, who are represented by the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ).This followed similar industrial action in support of demands for the implementation of the results of a reclassification exercise. Other public nurses are not involved in the action.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Ministry said it was taking steps to address the current impasse, as scores of registered nurses stayed off the job for the second day since (Tuesday, April 6), causing severe hardship to the public needing medical care.
The Ministry’s statement said:
“At a meeting today, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security was informed that approximately 45 percent of the 410 nurses scheduled to work at the Kingston Public and Bustamante Hospitals stayed off the job today. At the University Hospital of the West Indies, 31 out of the 176 nurses scheduled for the early shift called in sick. Other affected hospitals included the St. Ann’s Bay, Port Maria, Lionel Town and the National Chest Hospital.
“The actions by the nurses have resulted in major hospitals being hampered in their service to members of the public, as they are only able to treat emergency cases. In some instances, elective surgeries and routine dialysis treatments have been cancelled.
“Labour Minister, the Hon. Pearnel Charles, is calling for an end to the industrial action and asks that the interest of the public takes precedence at this critical time.”
The MLSS said it was urging the NAJ to make itself available for a meeting scheduled for Friday (April 9), at the Ministry’s North Street office in Kingston, to discuss the dispute.

Skip to content