I would like to see which employee in Kaieteur News who is given an order by the management, would refuse to carry it out. I would like to see any person who without cause would dare to be insubordinate to someone like Glenn Lall.
That person would be given reason to explain his or her decision and if no sensible explanation is forthcoming, that person would be sent packing with his or without his benefits and immediately.
If there is anything that Glenn Lall would not tolerate it is insubordination. If he gives an order and you do not agree, he will listen to your arguments. He will respect your position. But you simply will not be allowed to defy an instruction that is given. That is considered insubordination and Glenn Lall has no tolerance for this type of misconduct.
Insubordination leads to anarchy. When someone who is employed refuses to carry out an instruction, that person is defying his superior. He is going against the authority that you command. It is authority that allows for internal order and cohesion within any organization. Remove that respect for authority and what obtains is anarchy.
It is the same in the home. Whenever the authority figure in the home loses respect, the entire household can be thrown into chaos because everyone believes that each member can do as they please. There is no one to impose authority and order. Things fall apart.
Right now there is a problem at the Georgetown Public Hospital. A member of staff was said to be dismissed for insubordination. The person has reportedly refused to accept the letter of dismissal. There is a standoff taking place. The person is said to still be occupying her office.
Some members of the nursing staff have thrown their weight behind the dismissed staff member who, interestingly, it is said is on probation.
A number of things need to be made clear about this matter. The first thing is that insubordination is a basis for immediate dismissal. There is no need for any arguments that the punishment is excessive. If it can be established that there was insubordination, then the person can and is most likely to be dismissed forthwith rather than face a lesser form of disciplinary action.
The second thing is that someone on probation is not automatically entitled to be confirmed. If the person’s performance has been found wanting, that person’s services may be ended. We do not know the facts in this case but the central issue seems not to be the right to confirmation but rather insubordination.
The third thing that needs to be made clear is that there is no security of tenure enjoyed by employees of a public corporation. Public servants enjoy security of tenure. Employees of public corporations can be dismissed, as the Head of Guysuco was recently, for not enjoying the confidence of the Board.
A public servant can only be dismissed by the Public Service Commission which is supposed to be an independent constitutional body. The employee of a public corporation on the other hand is liable to be dismissed by the management.
The Georgetown Public Hospital is a Corporation. As such, an employee can be dismissed without referral to the Ministry of Health. There is no relationship at all with the Public Service Commission.
In other words, there is no security of tenure. You can have your services terminated because the management no longer has confidence in you as was the case a few years ago with some workers of a commercial bank. They terminated a number of staff whom they said no longer enjoyed their confidence.
Of course every employee should be subject to the principles of natural justice. If you have committed a wrong, you should be asked to explain your actions. But bear in mind, the management has the unquestionable prerogative to make an evaluation of your performance and if it is not satisfied with that performance, you can be let go.
A small group of workers at the hospital is protesting the dismissal of the employee who is being accused by the management of being insubordinate. This is not an official strike; it was called by the union.
For one, the employee was said to still be on probation and therefore was hardly likely to have been a member of the union.
Second, the protest action is being taken on the workers’ own time: during their lunch break.
There is no need for the Ministry of Health to intervene in this matter if it is not resolved by the time this column is published. If the employee feels that she was unfairly treated, she should write to the Chairman of the Board explaining her reasons for contending that she was unfairly treated.
The Board may, at its discretion, review the matter or it may decide that in the case of workers on probation that the decision of the management stands.
However, it should never allow for a review of the dismissal until the person removes herself from the premises of the corporation. No review should take place while the person is still occupying an office within the hospital. This should be a non- negotiable position.
If a review is allowed without the person demitting her job, there is nothing to review because there is no dismissal being complied with. And if persons are allowed to defy the authority of the management, this can only encourage further problems and chaos. For these reasons, until the person removes herself from the premises of the hospital, no review should be allowed.