The Public Service Union (PSU) is fighting on behalf of nurses at the Western Regional Hospital. The hospital is attempting to change the shifts of the nurses, but the union is lobbying to maintain the 12 hour shifts. President of the PSU, Gerald Henry explained that nurses who commute to the hospital will have trouble with transportation with the new shift system.
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: “At least six of these domestics residing in the villages surrounding Belmopan and as you know right now the transportation system isn’t really operating optimally at this point considering what is happening with the whole COVID issue and so it is difficult for them to come into Belmopan and also to return home. The full twelve hour shift was better because they would only come in and then they work the full twelve hours and then they go home but to split it up into three different shifts…. The rationale was that they were trying to minimize the overtime that the officers would be working however considering the fact that they were – and this came as a result of a circular that came out from the Ministry of Finance in March that requested that ministries and departments try their best to limit the over time to twenty hours for the month. So the fact is that the health workers are actually essential workers and definitely if they would have submitted justification to the Ministry of Finance because yes it was that the circular had requested for ministries and departments to do their best to limit it however the difference would have been paid from the Ministry of Finance especially if it was justified. Certainly this would be justified so there was no reason, as far as I can see there was no real reason for them to have changed the shift because the Ministry of Finance would have paid the difference of the over the twenty hours for the month.”
According to Henry, complications will arise because there are too many gaps between the shifts, which will result in instances when there are no nurses at the hospital.