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Aug 29, 2022

Nurses Stage Walkout Country Wide in Protest of Poor Working Conditions and Salary Deductions

Nurses across the country have been staging walkouts in protest of poor working conditions and salary deduction. In light of these protests, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Nurses Association of Belize issued a joint release, following a meeting in Belmopan this morning. According to the statement, the meeting was held to address, “pressing issues confronting the nurses and the larger medical community”. After two hours of discussion, between the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Nurses Association of Belize, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Labor, five resolutions were agreed upon. Those agreements are that the mode of calculation for overtime hours would be updated and that short hour deductions which occurred for the August pay period will be reverted back to all staff members. Additionally, further reconciliations will occur for the next pay period for any discrepancies which may have occurred during previous calculations. It was also agreed that the method for calculating sick leave and vacation leave will be reviewed. The Public Service Regulations and the Government Workers Regulations will also be reviewed to reflect regulations for shift workers. Minister of Health and Wellness, Kevin Bernard, elaborated on these points via Zoom. But before that, we take you to the nationwide protests that sparked all these changes with immediate effect. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Across the country, public health nurses walked out of their respective workplaces in protest against poor working conditions and salary deductions. The walkouts began on Saturday at around 4 p.m., with nurses at the Southern Regional Hospital.



Voice of: Nurse: Southern Regional Hospital

“It hurts us every day to have to come to a place knowing that the reason why we come is because we care for our patients. We really care for our patients. The hurt that we go through is deep.”


This morning, nurses across the country, from the Corozal Community Hospital, the Northern Regional Hospital, the San Ignacio Community Hospital, and the Western Regional Hospital staged similar protests.


Dorita Pineda

Nurse Dorita Pineda, San Ignacio Community Hospital

“We here we are all from the University of Belize Midwifery program. We are here to show Belize that we are not standing out here for a finance purpose, but we are here for the service we are out here to give. We are expected to give service with low resources. People post on Facebook the service they get. When they don’t receive the service, they state that they receive a bad service. But, do they know what it is like for the nurses and doctors to come up with resources, to fight for resources, to request for resources, to beg for resource. It is not easy.”


Nurse, Western Regional Hospital

“Every month our overtime is being cut. We are being told that we owe hours. Nurses can’t understand how we own hours, when every month we are working forty eight hours per week. Our regular hours are forty hours. So, if we are working forty eight hours times four weeks, how could we owe hours. And, whenever the overtime comes in, it is always short. We are not being paid in full what we are working for, and we are tired of this. We are tired right?”



“How long would you say you guys have been working under these types of conditions?”


Nurse, Western Regional Hospital

“For quite a long time, not recently, this has been going on for quite a long time.”


The President of the Public Service Union of Belize, Dean Flowers, was also out at this morning’s protest in front the Western Regional Hospital.


Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union

“What is hypocritical is that we were singing praises for them two years ago, we were applauding them, and in the same breath we have continued to hold them hostage under the kind of inhumane, unsanitary and not the best working conditions. Some idiot from the Ministry to Finance passed a rule that nurses must give account of every single hour that they work. It is unfair that they have to give account for every hour, but the masses of public servants do not have to do so. They did not create their schedule. So, the fact that you only have them working thirty six hours for a specific week is not their fault. So, you cannot turn around an penalize them and deduct from their substantive salary, four hours. What about the average public officer who go to work nine and ten o’clock and they till get their full pay?.”


Nurse Dorita Pineda

“You have people that came to a pay check at this end of month with two hundred dollars, Attendants and PCAs how sad is that. We are already paying twenty five percent taxes and ten percent social security, for what? So, that they can give it to someone that probably doesn’t need instead of investing it in the health system?”


Nurse Dorita Pineda, who is employed at the San Ignacio Community Hospital, noted that her colleagues were not protesting against the government, they were only demanding that those in power fulfill the promises made to make the necessary changes.


Nurse Dorita Pineda

“This is not a protest against the government. This is a protest for the government to come and stand with us and show us what they promised. We asked for a change. And, they are there because the people voted for that change and we are just asking them.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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