The staff at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital are breathing a collective sigh of relief after the KHMHA Workers’ Union was informed today that salaries of employees there will not be affected in the government’s planned cuts. Executive members of the unions met with Prime Minister John Briceno, who told them that the staff at the KHMH are not being considered public officers and as such will not be subject to the ten-percent pay cut and increment freeze. Hipolito Novelo reports.
After two hours, executive members of the KHMHA Workers Union stepped out of the Prime Minister’s office on Charter House. They met with Prime Minister John Briceno regarding the government’s proposed salary cut and continued increment freeze for public officers and teachers. The meeting went well.
Andrew Baird, Vice President, K.H.M.H. Workers Union: “It was an amicable meeting. It has met our expectations and so we feel good about it.”
And the KHMHA staff should feel good about it because their salaries will not be reduced by ten percent. That’s because the KHMHA is a statutory body. Employees there are not being considered public officers by the government. But it was not long ago that the KHMHA Workers Union was fighting to be considered public officers in order to be pensionable. Fortunately for the union that matter hasn’t been settled and if they would have had it their way, they too would have suffered the ten percent pay cut.
Lidia Alpuche Blake, President, K.H.M.H. Workers Union: “The KHMH workers fall under what is called a statutory body. We are not deemed public servants when its convenient and the KHMH workers union since 2015 has been in negotiations and had to clear this matter if we are if or if we are not deemed public servants because if we are public servants then as any other public servant out there we are deemed pensionable and we are not pensionable. And so we deem that we needed to come as KHMH workers union and present our case to the now prime minister and say this is all we have done. Is it or is it not true that now you are considering us a cut in our salary ? Are you considering us public servants will it come with a cost now because you know we have others and in the meeting today he has acknowledged the MOU, he has acknowledged to review that MOU that expired and see the recommendations that should have been followed. They have the cost cutting document that is up to review with the board and the minister has committed to review it and they have committed also to us that under this prime minister along with the Minister of Health will try their utmost best to exclude us from the ten percent salary cut because of all what we have presented and all that we have done and we keep on doing at KHMH.”
Andrew Baird, Vice President, K.H.M.H. Workers Union: “We asked the direct question is Karl Heusner in any way will be involved in the ten percent cut and it was made clear to us that no Karl Huesner staff is not going to be a part of that ten percent cut.”
And while that may be so, there is not the question of subvention. The KHMHA receives a monthly subvention from the Government. If that is reduce, then only so the salaries at KHMH may be affected.
Andrew Baird, Vice President, K.H.M.H. Workers Union: “The Prime Minister said to us that they will do their utmost best to ensure that the subvention for the KHMH is not cut but if it is cut it will then be a prerogative of the board of governors and management to determine how they will handle that cut as far as whether it needs to be put on to the staff or not.”
That is left to be seen. The KHMHA Workers Union believe they have sacrificed a lot since the start of the pandemic to be financially affected.
Lidia Alpuche Blake, President, K.H.M.H. Workers Union: “You need to know the story of KHMH. You need to know what the employees of KHMH have sacrificed, have been sacrificing and we have done our homework, we have sat, we have reached , we have dialogue, we have negotiated, we have signed documents.”
Andrew Baird, Vice President, K.H.M.H. Workers Union: “We have been sacrificing and continue to sacrifice. We have made tremendous sacrifice during COVID as the president alluded to the cost savings. We had given up one year increment to assist Karl Heusner to stay open and to continue their services because of the loss of revenues when the clinic closed down. The clinic is basically ninety percent of Karl Heusner’s main revenue stream and so we sacrifice for that cause and I don’t know how much the staff would be able to sacrifice if there is to be a need.”
The KHMHA Workers Union say they stand in solidarity with other unions fighting the salary cut and increment freeze. Reporting for Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo.