The Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association has served notice on Labour Minister, Stephenson King, of industrial action at St Jude Hospital (SJC), in keeping with the laws of the state relating to essential services.
The notice was given in a September 6, 2018 letter to King signed by association President, Doctor Alphonsus St Rose.
No date for the industrial action and the form it will take have been revealed for ‘tactical reasons’, a reliable source told St Lucia Times.
But the source, without going into details, said that the safety of citizens would be paramount.
Customs Officers Thursday began a two-day sickout which is likely to escalate on Monday.
The letter announcing the industrial action at SJH said it was being taken in connection with the ‘unsafe, unsound, unhealthy and insecure’ working environment at SJH housed at the George Odlum National stadium.
“Indeed, it is very unfortunate that doctors, nurses and health workers continue to labour and deliver healthcare services to a very deserving public in a most embarrassing, unhealthy, inhumane and undignified environment at the George Odlum National stadium,” St Rose wrote in his letter to King.
The SLMDA President observed that as a direct result of a worsening, unsafe and unhealthy working condition currently at the stadium, there have been reported sicknesses by association members including an increasing number of adverse events.
St Rose noted that the SLMDA has in the recent past brought to the attention of the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Management of SJH, that a safe, sound, healthy and secure working environment was not being provided and maintained.
He said they were informed that association members and medical practitioners had complained to the SLMDA about the ‘untenable’ working conditions.
The letter recalled that the SLMDA the government and SJH management in an effort to amicably resolve the matter, without success.
It also recalled that the association arranged for a site tour of the St Jude Hospital reconstruction project and in a position paper to the government, recommended a quick transfer from the George Odlum National Stadium, on the premise that the reconstruction project was safer and more conducive.
The letter noted that on July 12, 2018, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant, Andres Griffith was invited to assess the working conditions at the hospital.
It said despite all the efforts by the SLMDA, awareness by the government/employer and the management of SJH, the untenable working conditions at the hospital remain unchanged.
The letter informed the Labour Minister that on August 24, 2018, the SLMDA held a meeting with members to discuss the matter and the way forward and decided that “it was time to act in their best interest and including the interest of the public.”