Health workers graduate from UNISON-funded diploma course

NSCAG News | on: Saturday, 19 December 2015

On 11 December, 113 young members of health union FETSALUD took part in a graduation ceremony following their successful completion of the Diploma course Union Organizing and Labour Rights for Health Workers. The course was part of a project, funded by UNISON's International Development Fund, to provide trade union education and build knowledge and capacity in health trade unionism for FETSALUD officials. The project is also supported by UNISON's West Midland Region.

Further information on the project can be found here

Liz Light, NSC's representative in Nicaragua, attended the ceremony and conducted a series of interviews with participants, shown below:-

Nitzia Gisella Norori Acevedo, works as a nursing auxiliary in the Lidia Saavedra Senior Citizens Clinic. Union position- General Secretary of the Lidia Saavedra de Ortega Union branch

“This course has been a real help and has provided me with knowledge, theory and practice and the skills needed to tackle different cases of work co-workers at the clinic and to be able to advise them when they have some labour related issues. I also have transferred the skills and knowledge to all nine colleagues on my union branch executive so it is as if we have all participated in the course. I reproduced all the materials and course contents for them. My union position comes to an end in January 2016 but I’ve had lots of positive feedback for my work and hope to be reelected.”

Yenifer Concepción Castillo Lopéz, works as a nursing auxiliary in the Hospital Aleman Nicaraguense. Union position- Youth secretary of the Karl Marx Union branch

“The course was an unforgettable experience, something new. This is my second year in a union position and I’d never had an experience of this magnitude before. We’ve learned all about the history of unionism, its origins and objectives, how to negotiate collective bargaining agreements – many things that we weren’t well informed of before even being on the union executive. This course has provided us with lots of tools that will help our work in the union as well as on a personal and professional level. Personally the course has really helped me as I was always very quiet and shy and now I have more self confidence and capacity to speak out. I know that I can demand more of myself and that I will always fight for the rights of my fellow workers and of all workers.”

Erick Antonio Ramirez Negra, works at Karl Lang Health Centre. Union- Ramon Ortega Olivas branch

“Thank you to UNISON and FETSALUD for providing this course for us youngsters where we have learned how to organize a union and the responsibilities of a union. It has strengthened the participation of youngsters in the unions which we didn’t have before. I am very active in the union and the course elements have been excellent and have helped me enormously in my union work, especially when I’ve attended union congresses.”

Oscar Enrique Juarez González, works in Admissions in the High Technology Centre of Antonio Lenin Fonseca Hospital. Union position- Culture and sport coordinator of the Julio Arela Union branch

“This course has been very important and as you can see we are mostly young people and there were many topics that we didn’t know enough about, such as collective bargaining agreements and health sector laws. The information has been very opportune and has enabled us to defend our fellow workers in difficult situations they have faced in the workplace.”

Carlos Molina Machado, works as a doctor in Ciudad Sandino Hospital. Union position- Labour issues coordinator in FETSALUD (national level)

“I’ve been working with FETSALUD for over a year now in the area of Labour issues. This course has been an excellent experience and I’d like to thank UNISON for making it possible, not only in Managua but in five other departments too. The main objective has been to train youngsters within the unions about workers’ rights and labour issues in Nicaragua, how to defend our workers and face the problems the country is experiencing. We as youngsters have learned a lot with this course. Things are very different today, before with the previous neo-liberal governments we always had to fight for our rights and there were strikes all the time. With today’s government things are different and we reach mutual agreements on labour issues that always favour the workers. As youngsters we will continue in this struggle. We are sure that we will continue moving forward with our government after the elections in 2016 and we will continue to grow in our beloved Nicaragua. As for the course, those of us who participated have shared our experiences with our colleagues in the workplace so everyone can benefit from the knowledge we acquired and so they can all defend their rights at work. We are all cascading and reproducing the knowledge and skills that we acquired.”

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