MEMBERS of the now-suspended Solomon Islands Nursing Association (SINA) have expressed disappointment over the way the government has handled their issue.
A spokesperson for the ‘Nurses Solidarity Members’ told the paper in an interview last night that they are unhappy with the way the government suspended the Solomon Islands Nurses Association (SINA).
“The nurses were not happy with the decision made in suspending SINA.”
The spokesperson said the government failed to show sincerity by not visiting the nurses and discuss the issue with them.
“Had the government come and discuss with us on Friday, this situation would have not gone this far,” the spokesperson said.
It was also clarified that SINA decided to withdraw the sit-in protest which was published in the paper on Friday.
However, when SINA informed all the nurses about the illegality of the sit-in protest, it was the members who all agreed in total solidarity to proceed with the protest on Friday, the spokesperson added.
“Our main focus in the protest is on the COVID-19 allowance which was promised by the government but was never paid. It has nothing to do with the other allowances that were highlighted during the Saturday press conference.”
The spokesperson denied the government’s claim that all nurses’ allowances have been paid except for the month of October allowances.
“The reality is that our front-line nurses have not received any outstanding allowances since August,” the spokesperson said, adding, the government has promised nurses that once the country recorded its first COVID-19 case, all nurses working within the emergency zones are eligible to receive COVID-19 allowances of $150 per day.
“So the sit-in protest was a result of the frustration by all nurses due to government’s empty promises,” the spokesperson said.
The nurses were unhappy with the decision to publicly expose their salary structures.
“Government should have come and faced the nurses. So that we can inform them about our frustrations and welfare while risking our lives and our families during this pandemic.”
The spokesperson said COVID-19 is a global pandemic and therefore whoever is deployed to carry out the work must be paid with the COVID-19 allowances.
It’s understood most of the nurses have resumed normal duty as of 3 pm yesterday.
They have engaged a legal adviser to deal with their grievances and the way forward.
Secretary to the Prime Minister (SPM) Dr. Jimmie Rogers during yesterday’s weekly talkback over the national broadcaster warned nurses involved in the illegal sit-in protest will be investigated and dealt with accordingly for breaking the law.
“When the law has been broken, normally that invokes a process of investigation, where reports will come in and it depended on the outcome, the decision on that will be made by the Public Service because they are public servants,” said the SPM.
Since Friday’s protest up until yesterday afternoon, health services at the main National Referral Hospital (NRH) has been adversely affected.
Reports said the situation has forced only the doctors to care for the sick patients at the wards who have stressed themselves out during their shift.
Meanwhile, the Prime Ministers Office last night issued a detailed outline on the government’s action to suspend the nursing association and other matters related to the recent protest.