MOW, KHMH and KHMH Worker’s Union meet to hammer out issues
A meeting between Minister of Health and Wellness, Kevin Bernard and representatives of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Worker’s Union (KMHMWU) to discuss the challenges facing the nation’s flagship hospital finished late this evening. The Ministry and the Union were also joined by the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority. The hospital’s workers have continued to complain about shortages of critical equipment and medicines at the KHMH. Also, this evening the union is going to consider whether it will go ahead with its planned industrial action. The union president, Andrew Baird spoke to the media just before news time.
Andrew Baird, President, KHMH Workers Union: “Amicable meeting. At this time we don’t have much to say other than we made a commitment to have some more dialogue and to continue on from this meeting so basically that is what we have to say right now. It’s continued within the KHMH between management and union before the week is completed we’ll continue our dialogue.”
Reporter: Your plans to have industrial action the rest of this week will that continue ?
Andrew Baird, President, KHMH Workers Union: “That’s a matter for the union executive to make a decision within the next couple hours or so along with membership.”
The hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Chandra Nisbet-Cansino also this evening discussed with the media briefly about her optimism that both the hospital and the union will be continually engaged to resolve some of these issues.
Chandra Nisbet Cansino, CEO, KHMH: “We are hopeful. It was a very amicable meeting as the president said and so we look forward to addressing these as the days and weeks continue. We agreed to improve communication that is one area of communication we need to improve wich is where we dialogue before we go to the public and so that’s an area that we are going to improve so that I am responding to something that I understand and they are responding to something that they understand. So certainly we will improve communication in that area. I always urge the union to come to us and so that will continue going forward. There are two different things, there are shortages within the Central Medical Supplies system and then there are shortages within the Karl Heusner – well sorry supplies management issues that we will address. So we’re addressing all of that at this time. I really don’t want to speak too much because we had a good meeting and we don’t want to engage in any back and forth. We agreed to engage in that together.”
And what about industrial action by critical medical and support staff? As the union president Andrew Baird explained, a decision will come after the executive meets. However, the mere contemplation of action indicates that the dispute between the hospital and the union is a large chasm. For CEO Nisbet-Cansino, today’s meeting brought both sides closer. She was also asked about the Ministry’s involvement in today’s discussions, including issues related to job security.
Chandra Nisbet Cansino, CEO, KHMH: “We got miles closer today and so we look forward to them going back to their membership and seeing what the results will be. We’re working on all of those things together. The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Union and management of Karl Heusner.”
Reporter: How much longer do you expect that these discussions will continue ?
Chandra Nisbet Cansino, CEO, KHMH: “I said in the next coming days and weeks. So there’s a lot of issues that have transcended time and so some of them can be resolved quickly and others need a little bit more time. Those issues were also addressed and those involved supplies quality and shortages and so the ministry did address those as well from their perspective.”
Reporter: What about in terms of the job security that Mr.Baird spoke about that a lot of the staff was on contracts including an entire security department was on contracts that were supposed to be up in April and they were worried about job security ?
Chandra Nisbet Cansino, CEO, KHMH: “Yes all of that was addressed and that will continue to be addressed and those just come with terms of the employment and so everything will be addressed sooner rather than later.”
While the Union and the hospital representatives spoke to the media briefly, Minister Kevin Bernard quickly walked past the media, declining to give a comment at this time.