JIS News

Registered Government nurses resumed normality Friday afternoon (September 3), after a meeting with Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Hon Pearnel Charles, at his Ministry, North Street, Kingston.
Mr. Charles told JIS News after meeting with NAJ President, Edith Allwood-Anderson, and her team, that he had been advised by the NAJ that industrial action taken by its members would cease immediately and normality restored to the health sector.
He said he welcomed the decision by the NAJ, as being in the nation’s best interest, “given the vital role that nurses play in nation building.”
“We have decided to end the action until further notice. We will be meeting with all parties Saturday morning to discuss all the issues, including the reclassification and the outstanding retroactive payments,” Mrs. Allwood-Anderson confirmed in an interview with JIS News after the meeting.
The other parties to the dispute are the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
Mr. Charles confirmed that the parties are to resume their negotiations on Saturday morning at ten at his Ministry, under his chairmanship.
At a press briefing at the Ministry Health, downtown Kingston, earlier Friday, Health Minister, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, said that since Wednesday (September 1) absenteeism in several hospitals had been above 50 per cent.
He said that among the most severely affected were the Mandeville Regional, Victoria Jubilee, Port Maria and St. Ann’s Bay hospitals.
The Minister said that, based on the pattern of absenteeism, the Ministry’s ability to carry out normal activities at some facilities had been compromised.
The nurses’ action was triggered by a failure to reach an agreement with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service on the implementation of the results of a reclassification exercise done in 2006, which would significantly increase their salaries, as well as retroactive payments outstanding increases in salaries and allowances last year

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