Thu | Sep 28, 2023

NHT workers stage sickout

Published:Monday | May 29, 2023 | 1:09 PM
The NHT said some customers have experienced delays in accessing some in-branch services. - File photo

Dozens of National Housing Trust (NHT) workers staged a sickout Monday morning protesting an outstanding job evaluation issue, only a week after the one-year anniversary of a similar industrial action when the group walked off the job. 

A media release from the NHT on Monday afternoon said "a significant number of our employees, called in sick today."

It said as a result some customers have experienced delays in accessing some in-branch services.

Several Gleaner sources at the State agency confirmed that workers began reporting sick from as early as 6 a.m. following an advisory from NHT Staff Association (NHTSA) President Shanna Whyte on Sunday.  

“There appears to be some divisive action being employed at this time. The NHTSA would like to categorically state that we have not received any communication regarding a response from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service up to the time of this notice,” Whyte told union members. 

She told the group to “stay tuned”. 

Attempts by The Gleaner to reach Whyte for comment were unsuccessful as calls to her cellular phone went unanswered. 

Garfield Harvey, vice president of the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) which represents NHT workers, told The Gleaner that he could not “confirm or deny” the sickout or its impact. 

However, he said that workers have for weeks signalled their unease and restiveness over the job evaluation process which began in 2018 and was completed in 2021. 

He said since that time, there have been several delays which were subsequently resolved. 

Harvey said that the UAWU and management agreed on a resolution earlier this year and that documents were sent to the ministry for final approval of the implementation process. 

“That was months ago. Nothing has happened. We've heard nothing. So, the workers have been agitated for the last couple of weeks,” said Harvey. 

He said two Fridays ago the ministry committed to responding but did not do so and instead said it would respond last Friday. 

“Last Friday we got no response. The weekend has come and gone. I have heard nothing, neither from the company or the Ministry of Finance… We have heard nothing. So, I suspect this is what might have precipitated some form of action on the part of the workers because they have been threatening and been restive for weeks,” he said adding that the company and the ministry were aware. 

Last year May workers walked off the job in protest over the same outstanding job evaluation process.

The NHT is reminding customers that most in-branch services, are available online.

"Customers may use the NHT Online portal, available at, to apply for NHT contribution refunds, make contribution payments, make mortgage payments, generate eligibility letters, access mortgage statements among other things," it stated.

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