Adelin Medical Centre has decided to permanently sever the contracts of six employees who the company temporarily laid off three months ago, in an effort to sort out financial difficulties. The employees were expected to return to work today but instead, over the weekend they received their severance letters. The three-month period was the maximum legally allowed for the temporary lay-offs, after which the hospital had to make a decision to either reinstate the workers or sever them. The letters were delivered by a taxi driver, along with a cheque for a portion of their severance pay, with the outstanding amount to be paid to them in monthly installments over a one-year period. The manner of their termination has angered some of the workers who have also taken issue with the timeline being placed on their severance pay. Veronica Richards, a cook with the clinic for the past 26 years, says with the severance pay for all six workers amounting to a little over EC $100,000 it would not be difficult to pay the workers a higher portion of their severance upfront. She believes the management disrespected its workers by the impersonal style of communicating their termination and by setting an unfavourable timeline on their severance pay. “It’s the way how it was done; it’s gross disrespect,” Richards said. “You have something to say, we are supposed to return to work (today) and then only the Friday evening, we get a letter by a taxi (driver) to say our service is terminated, which is unfair, not even a meeting. “What are we going to live on in this economic time? It’s not even to say the clinic isn’t open; it is doing business and we were reliably informed the money is there and what they owe us is not even $100,000 when you put all of us together,” she added. Bridgette Joseph, a housekeeper at the clinic for the past 12 years, echoed similar sentiments. “It’s the way how it was done, because to be honest, I don’t mind if they don’t really require our services, but it’s the way how they treat us. If only they had keep a meeting with us to say the company is not doing well and they cannot keep us on any longer and such,” Joseph said. “When they send the letter with the taxi driver, now, not even quarter of the money they send to us,” she added. The workers said they have taken up the issue with their union, the Antigua Workers’ Union, and will be pushing for a shorter timeline to receive their severance pay. Attempts to contact management at the medical centre up to press time were unsuccessful.