Ministry urges nurses, GPSU to end strike at Linden hospital

– calls for continued engagement

The Ministry of Health (MOH) urges the Nurses and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) to end the industrial action at the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) and continue to engage the Ministry in resolving the situation that presently has the potential to impact on the welfare of the people of Linden and by extension the entire Region 10. The MOH remains open to further engagement with the nurses of the Linden Hospital Complex and their Union.

The Health Ministry is concerned that, in spite of agreeing to engage the nursing staff and the Union through the Ministry of Labour, the nurses continued to restrict the full complement of staff at the Linden Hospital Complex. We consider the strike action by nurses at the LHC illegal and that the resort to strike action before engaging the MOH is premature.

From the very beginning, the MOH treated the nurses concern as serious. The statements made by the CEO, Mr. Rudy Small, is unacceptable and the Ministry immediately demanded a retraction. Prior to the matter coming to our attention, Mr. Small had issued an apology. Mr. Small, never-the-less, was immediately instructed to report to the Permanent Secretary’s office, where he was rebuked and warned that any further such uncalled for behaviour will not be accepted without consequence. 

Mr. Small issued a further apology both to the staff of the LHC and to the Health Ministry. He recommitted his pledge to service and to the ideals and mission of the MOH and the LHC.

The MOH agreed at the meeting with the Chief Labour Officer to engage the nurses and the Union on a way forward but not until the strike is called off.

The Permanent Secretary informed the Union in a discussion with their Representative on March 5, 2021 that the Ministry remains open and ready to discuss the concerns of the nurses at the LHC. We will, however, not negotiate under duress. We remain in contact with the Union and with the Ministry of Labour and we are ready at any time to resume the discussions we started on March 4th at the Ministry of Labour.

Permanent Secretary
Malcolm Watkins