The Public Service Union has said that efforts to conduct full and proper investigations into concerns of working conditions are being hampered because of lack of access.
“We have had the opportunity to be on the ground but not having access to the facility in the way that we wanted to have access. Because, we would have reached out to management in terms for us as a union paying a visit to the institution to see what was happening,” the union’s public relations officer Shelly Ann Alexander-Ross said at a press conference held at the union’s Mc Kie’s Hill headquarters last week Wednesday.
Alexander-Ross was at the time responding to a question as to whether the union had made attempts to verify the accuracy and truth of claims made by workers in relation to proper availability and use of masks and other conditions of work at the Mental Health and Rehabilitation Centre.
“We were actually denied entrance to a certain level, and not on the inside to see what was actually happening, if there were masks, not mask or whatever. So, our investigations were limited in terms of us being there in person to see what was happening,” the union’s PRO said..
Alexander-Ross also stated: “But we would have had reliable sources to say this is what is happening at the mental health facility. But, for us as a union getting there, we were only allowed that limited entrance so we could actually be on the spot to see if what the workers were reporting were in fact happening at the institution.”
Responding to a question as to how far the union was prepared to go in seeking resolution to the situation, as claimed to be existing for almost a year and given that they have been pressing demands, the union’s president Elroy Boucher said: “It’s not just that we are barred from going and inspect conditions under which workers operate.”
Boucher referred to a situation which he said existed last year where the sewage was flowing onto the surface and attempts were made to prevent him as union leader from entering the compound. He said that fortunately he had already gone ahead and examined the situation before he raised the issue with management.
“The good thing is I had already gone in and come back out because I know what their attitude is.
A union prevented from looking at the conditions under which workers are operating and which patients themselves have to exist,” Boucher said.
The union leader said there is an opportunity for reform and he knew the ministry has plans given by a former Senior Nursing Officer as to how best to reform the institution.
“Maybe those pans are just lying, catching dust on a shelf.
They need to take them out, take mental health seriously and try and find a way of alleviating some of the problems,” Boucher told reporters.