In a letter addressed to the Health Services Board on Wednesday, 23 February, the Health Apex Council said it reached the decision after their employer refused to negotiate on improving health workers’ working conditions over the past two years.
Among issues raised by the Health Apex Council is the Government’s failure to review the non-claimable health sector-specific allowances, i.e. on-call, call out/standby, night duty, nurse managers and special health allowances for the past two years. Part of the letter reads:
These allowances ceased in 2020 and have now contributed to the en-masse exodus of health workers. There is little incentive to continue going for work in the health sector.
COVID-19 risk allowances… were last reviewed in 2020 and as such are now very negligible considering the exposure of the health workers during this pandemic Health workers never stopped reporting for duty even when most public servants were at home.
Vehicle loan scheme… was agreed upon in CBA1 of 2019 and it was unilaterally stopped by the employer.
20% cost of living adjustment… made in February 2022 provided little relief to the socio-economic status of the health workers.
The development comes a few weeks after teachers declared incapacitation, citing a rise in the cost of living and demanding the restoration of their pre-October 2018 salaries of US$540.
The Government awarded civil servants a 20 per cent salary increase, which teachers rejected as inadequate and the impasse was broken after the Public Service Commission (PSC) threatened to fire all teachers who failed to report for duty by Tuesday, 22 February.