St John workers walk off duties

National, Normal


MORE than 50 disgruntled workers from two St John run health facilities in the city walked out of their jobs yesterday morning in protest over irregularities in their pays and frequent delay in their payment by the management which they said had continued for over a year.
The workers consisting of cleaners, administrative staff and health workers from St John Gordon clinic and St John Gerehu hospital who met at the Gerehu hospital grounds earlier yesterday morning revealed they were never paid on time every fortnight and often got paid in the third week (non pay week) or just days before the next fortnight.
A spokesman for the workers added that even some of them got the wrong amounts (some received less or overpaid) despite having worked a full fortnight as permanent employees.
Through the private-public partnership arrangements, fundings to pay for salaries for health workers and other workers in such institutions were budgeted for by the Health Department but allocated to the relevant NGO, church or private organisation that was running the hospital to pay staff.
Health secretary Dr Clement Malau  yesterday afternoon indicated that sufficient funding (K3.1 million last year and K3 million this year)had been allocated by the Government to St John to help provide health service and it had to explain the situation.
Early yesterday morning, patients filled up seats outside the hospital after being told that workers were  not coming to work and most started leaving.
Others that remained were eventually let in after 9am when a few hospital staff left their colleagues and returned to work.
The Gordon clinic, however, was closed all day yesterday as all its workers had converged with their Gerehu colleagues to seek answers from St John’s senior management.