Some Unity Worker’s Union (UWU) nurses linked to the ongoing strike action are accusing government of colluding with their financial institutions to seize monies from their accounts.
This issue was raised by leader of the UWU Caswell Franklyn who, during a press conference today, charcterised the move as a “nasty, guerilla” tactic aimed only to intimidate workers.
“What they are doing is completely nasty,” Franklyn charged.
During a press conference hosted by Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Wednesday, she charged that Franklyn had not observed industrial relations protocol in his initiation of the ongoing matter. And she promised that the salaries of the striking nurses would be docked.
However, Barbados TODAY spoke with several nurses who said that while they had not received salaries for December like some of their colleagues did on Thursday and Friday, this morning when they checked their accounts, they were shocked to see that some of the existing funds on their accounts were being held. In fact, many of the affected workers presented bank statements dated up to December 17 as evidence of the alleged discrepancies.
One of the nurses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had a current balance of $8, 518.10 in her account but the statement showed that the available amount was only $4,592.09. The outstanding balance, which she could not access, is $3,926.01, the exact sum, which another statement dated November 25, 2021 showed was the monthly salary deposited by the Accountant General.
Some other nurses indicated that they could not get access to their account at all.
“Why my salary is put on hold the bank can’t explain that to me? Why my money was touched the bank can’t explain that to me. I did not get my salary but the same amount of my salary was put on hold from me getting access to. It can’t be legal,” one of the frustrated nurses stated.
She said that that even after contacting the bank this morning, she was still at a loss about how such an action could happen or be allowed.
The mother of one added: “I ain’t commit no crime, nobody ain’t carry the police to them and tell them they need to hold my money because I carry away money or something and they need to seize everything belonging to me. I have not committed a crime.”
Franklyn was equally aggrieved as he maintained that this action was illegal and said he was seeking legal advice on the matter.
“I’ve never seen it done anywhere else before and I hope to never see it again. These same nurses are owed several thousand dollars in money that government has for them and would not pay. Why didn’t they take it out of the money they owed them?” (KC)