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Subs pay lapse


Sanka Price

Subs pay lapse

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MORE THAN 30 nursing assistants who work in temporary positions in the Psychiatric Hospital and the island’s Government-run geriatric hospitals have not been paid for three months.
And such is the plight of these workers that yesterday Minister of Health Donville Inniss called on those in the Public Service responsible for paying them to get their act together.
The DAILY NATION understands that the delay in paying the temporary workers is primarily a bureaucratic one. It is tied to the operations of the Personnel Administration Division, which allows temporary appointments for only three months at a time. So by the time one set of acting appointments has been processed and approval sent, months have generally elapsed.
Two of the workers reported being nearly destitute because of the problem. Last Friday one cried as she related how she had to contact everyone she owed and beg them to hold strain so her utilities would not be cut off and furniture repossessed.
“I don’t know what else I can do. This is so unfair to me,” she said, breaking down in tears.
And yesterday another reported that she was now borrowing money from friends and family to survive until her next pay cheque.
“I cannot support my family, buy food and pay bills. Luckily, I don’t have to pay rent because I would die,” she said.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand said last Friday that the Ministry of Health was looking into the situation “to have this process streamlined”. But yesterday Inniss did not hide his deep dissatisfaction with the situation, which affects his ministry more than others as that ministry tends to do more substituting than any other.
“It is regrettable and totally unacceptable. Everybody who works should be paid in a timely fashion. What is happening to these people is not fair,” Inniss said.
He said the unfortunate thing was that these workers often did not say anything about their plight as they feared not being reassigned or not being appointed if they did.
The minister said he had raised the matter with the Minister of the Public Service as he would like it addressed as a matter of urgency.
It was an administrative bungle, said Inniss, pointing out that it was not a case of Government being unable to pay.
 

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