Letang says “The meeting is to discuss work issues that the nurses want addressed. These will include their working conditions on which they have major concerns. This is the first time we are meeting with them to get firsthand information, and to decide on a way forward.”
He added that the union was able to get some improvement in working conditions of nurses a few years ago, such as new allowances, including the specialist allowances, and allowances related to their responsibilities were reviewed and increased.
During the negotiations Last year, the government suggested that the DPSU put allowances on hold in order to review all of them at the same time instead of just reviewing for a few.
The DPSU had agreed to that proposal, but was somewhat surprised recently, when they realized that government was in direct discussion with the nurses regarding allowances.
Earlier this month government announced several ‘incentives’ for nurses including a one-time special uniform allowance, an increase in night nourishing allowance, an increase in the allowance for district nurses, and an increase in on-call allowances for nurse practitioners, to help stem the huge tide of nurse migration, after Hurricane Maria.
Letang says the DPSU plans to address most of the nurses concerns in its proposal for salary negotiations for the new triennium.