Hospital workers on strike outside Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital on Friday morning. (Robert Luckock photo)
MARIGOT—Health care workers at Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital officially began their strike Friday against mandatory vaccinations with support from members of SXM Resistance, and the collectives Soualiga United, Soualiga Grass Roots and Union des Peuples Travaillant pour Saint-Martin (UPTSM).
According to the national decree it became compulsory on September 15 for health care workers and fire fighters to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who cannot show to have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, risk losing their jobs.
Following the statements made by France's Minister of Health Olivier Véran at the beginning of the week, Regional Health Agency ARS issued a press release on Tuesday, September 14, indicating that "the vaccination obligation applies in the Antilles but, given the health situation in Guadeloupe and Saint-Martin, the principle of a progressive approach will be implemented in these two territories" in order to ensure the continuity of care for patients.
The ARS specified that a precise timetable would be proposed shortly, adding that an initial first phase until the beginning of October will consist of a period of reminders before more stricter phases are implemented. The objective is for all health professionals and fire fighters to be able to produce proof of a full vaccination schedule by November 15.
“We are against the health pass and this obligation to be vaccinated, it’s a form of dictatorship,” Marcelline Dessout from the health section of union Confederation Générale des Travailleurs de Guadeloupe (CGTG) told a gathering outside the hospital:
“Today we still don’t know what is inside this vaccine. The fight is on and we are going to fight to the end. It is not fair that workers who have been working 20 or 30 years in the hospital will face sanctions for not taking the vaccine. We are standing for all the workers who want to have their rights respected.”
According to Dessout, the hospital has not implemented its measures on time and the September 15 date has been prolonged by two weeks. But with a still very active hurricane season she wants it extended to November 15.
Some 30 per cent of workers are on strike, Dessout indicated, adding that there are more who would strike but are still providing service in the hospital. According to the hospital management some 50 per cent agree with the vaccination mandate.
The hospital is faced with calculating what minimum staff it needs to continue offering patient care, and if it needs to bring in extra personnel from abroad.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/hospital-workers-begin-strike-against-mandatory-vaccinations