NUPW calls on Government to state position on home helpers
The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is calling on the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs or the management of the National Assistance Board (NAB) to state clearly what is the position with the home helpers.
Six members of the staff at the NAB, including one home helper, have tested positive for COVID-19, and on Monday, a media release from COVID czar Richard Carter said they identified “110 persons including the entire staff at the Country Road Office and their families who will go into mandatory quarantine at designated hotels” for 14 days.
The NAB has a staff of 255 and about 170 of them are home helpers.
NUPW acting general secretary Delcia Burke told the media this morning that quarantine seems to apply only to the office staff.
“We were told that all of the workers, once they were tested, if they were positive they would go into isolation, if they were negative, they would go into quarantine,” Burke said.
The office staff are being housed at Mango Bay Hotel, she added, “but the home helpers, even though they have been tested and even though one of them has been tested positive, they have been asked to report to work.
“That is not the union’s understanding as to what should have happened.”
Burke said the union received several calls from home helpers who say they are not hearing from the management of NAB or their Ministry.
Members of the public have also reacted negatively when they tried to do their jobs.
“Some of them have said they went to work on Monday and they faced discrimination from the public. Persons asked them not to come into their houses,” Burke said.
She called on management to allay the fears of the public and reassure the uncertain workers.
Meanwhile, president Akanni McDowall said the workers were uncomfortable because they did not have information.
He said when the NUPW met with Minister of Labour Colin Jordan and Minister of People Empowerment Cynthia Forde, they were told all staff would have been quarantined.
McDowall said under normal circumstances they would have held a general meeting with workers to fully discuss the issues, but the physical distancing restrictions under COVID-19 means this is not possible and the media would be critical in getting information out.
Burke and McDowall were among a group of people, including Minister of Environment Trevor Prescod, who gathered – physical distancing rules fully enforced – at the Wildey depot of the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) to show appreciation for the SSA workers, who have been deemed essential during Government’s 24-hour curfew to fight the spread of the coronavirus. (SAT)
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