After staging a sit-in over nonpayment of overtime pay at the Fiennes Institute compound, some of the 30 workers who protested left at the end of the workday with cheques in-hand.
OBSERVER media confirmed that yesterday the domestic aid workers, orderlies, groundsmen and ward assistants spoke with Walter Christopher, the ministry of health’s permanent secretary, who assured them that a partial payment of the total due to the workers would be available at the Fiennes main office.
Staff said they have not received any overtime pay for working holidays this year, during their relocation to the U.S. Naval Base, or following the round-the-clock care they provided for residents during Hurricane Irma.
Following the storm, the staff was reportedly asked by ministry officials to wait until it had addressed the immediate needs of the evacuated Barbudans before payments could be made.
Three months have passed, and the workers say that is enough time for the government to now divert its attention to the staff and the disrepair of the Fiennes Institute, the nation’s home for the elderly and poor.
In March, Molwyn Joseph, health minister, said the Institute needs to be rebuilt, and, soon after, he announced that the male residents would be relocated to the Margetson Ward at the old hospital because, he said, the male ward was beyond repair. But that has not happened.
OBSERVER media visited the sit-in, which started at 7 a.m. at the home on Queen Elizabeth Highway and spoke with staff. They said that ensuring the residents are comfortable during this time is still a priority, so all 63 of the residents were fed and given medications.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)