Pharmacist, nurses and enrolled nursing assistants stand outside of the San Fernando Teaching Hospital at Chancery Lane during their silent protest.

Health care workers yesterday held a silent protest in front of the San Fernando Teaching Hospital demanding that they be paid outstanding increments.

This follows a March 12 memoranda from the South West Regional Health Authority’s (SWRHA) CEO Dr Brian Armour informing workers that they would not be receiving their increment arrears this month. In the memoranda, a copy of which was obtained by Guardian Media, the SWRHA stated it was no longer in a position to honour the final tranche of arrears by March 31 as previously projected. “This is deeply regretted. Rest assured we remain committed to our staff welfare and is therefore working to have this situation rectified in the shortest period possible. It is therefore projected that this payment should be made on, or before September 30, 2021.”

Led by Clint Walker, PSA’s staff side chairman, the workers used their lunch hour to protest in front of the institution and they promised to keep up the action until they were paid.

“What has happened is that we working without compensation. Our remuneration is not being given to us.”

Last year, he said, they were promised payment in three tranches but the goal post for payment has been constantly shifting.

“We were told last year we will get our money in tranches – 30, 30, 40 per cent. Some workers did not get 30 and 40 per cent. So there are a lot of workers who did not get increments which is part of their remuneration package.”

He said they were promised payment last March, then September, December and it was delayed to this month and now they have moved it to March.

“Workers are fed up because of the fact that we have to work in an environment which is unhealthy at times and we are coming out, we are doing what we are trained and supposed to do for our country. We come out and put health care first and what we are asking is for our remuneration.”

He said some workers have not been paid increments for 13 years. Walker is hoping that they get the attention of Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh who might not be aware of what was taking place.

Guardian Media also reached out to SWRHA’s corporate communications manager Kevon Gervais who said that last August the SWRHA commenced the process of settling all outstanding increments to staff in tranche payments.

“To date, payments were advanced to a significant portion of staff, while outstanding payments will be settled.” He reminded affected staff to utilise the Employee Solutions Desk to have all matters addressed.