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Recurring late payment of hospital workers could lead to a downing of tools, Public Service Association President warns

The president of the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA), Joan Peters, is warning the Government to pay frontline workers in a timely manner to avoid a downing of tools.

Late last week, a notice went out to the staff at Mount St. John Medical Centre (MSJMC) informing them that plans to process their payroll had been stalled.  Still, management said it was hopeful that everything would work out and employees would be paid that day.

However, up to this morning, October 19, no payment had been made and no indication given as to when salaries would be honoured, Peters says.

She adds that the situation seems to be a repeat of last month, when workers’ September earnings were paid in October.

Even when payment begins, not everyone will receive their fortnightly salary at the same time, Peters notes, since the authorities have said that payment will be done in tranches.

The Association President describes the current situation as regrettable, since it appears that no care is being given to the workers who put their lives on the line every day, especially during this pandemic.

In fact, Peters says that many healthcare workers are living pay cheque to pay cheque.

According to the PSA President, hospital employees must still be on the job during this dire period – not receiving their salaries on time and with a number of issues, such as back pay and risk allowance, remaining outstanding.

She says the staff is becoming increasingly frustrated and wants the union to take some form of action – which she is trying to avoid.

Peters says the hospital staff were paid for September after she notified Health Minister Molwyn Joseph of the development. However, she has not yet informed him of the situation this time around.

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