Work-to-rule is an industrial action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of a workplace, and follow safety or other regulations to the letter in order to cause a slowdown rather than to serve their purpose. This is considered less disruptive than a strike or lockout; and just obeying the rules is less susceptible to disciplinary action. Notable examples have included nurses refusing to answer telephones and police officers refusing to hand out tickets.
Where I live this is not an uncommon occurrence. â€œWork to ruleâ€ has only affected me once before (that I am aware of) at the Border. Since the Security people canâ€™t strike they sometimes do â€œWork to Ruleâ€. This slows things down; they do everything they are supposed to do but very slowly and with great intent. What is usually a 10-minute wait becomes 2 Â½ hours. If we know ahead of time, we choose not to cross the border while â€œWork to Ruleâ€ is going on.
Yesterday was my surgery day. I arrived at 7AM like I was supposed to, I was taken into a room to change. A shunt was placed in my hand and I was hooked up to a Saline drip and my other medications were hung on the saline stand to be added when needed. My husband parked our car andÂ he came into the room and we both read the newspaper and then got into our books.Â In the newspaper was an article that indicated Ontario is thinking of increasing revenues by providing medical services to paying patients from outside Canada. It goes on to say it will not affect Residents. Sounds good but there are waiting lists here for elective surgery like knees and hips and one wonders how adding paying non residents will not slow down an already somewhat slow process.
My surgery was scheduled for 10:30. Nothing was happening. Finally an administrator came in and said she was waiting to hear from my surgeon and to sit tight until she comes back with him. She said the OR nurses called in sick. Nurses canâ€™t strike but they can call in sick. All elective surgeries were canceled yesterday. I am just one of dozens of disappointed patients. When my doctor arrived he looked shaken. There was noting he could do, the surgery arena was closed because of lack of nursing staff. He said to call his office today and see what his Nurse can do to reschedule.
All nurses are overworked and underpaid. Somehow I canâ€™t blame them for doing their style of â€œWork to Ruleâ€ but it is disappointing to have this happen.
I phoned today and I have a new date and time â€“ two and a half months from now. That really pisses me off but what can I do about it â€“ nothing. I am also on a cancellation list with the surgeon so if someone chooses to cancel their surgery I might get in earlier.
What a tangled web has been wovenâ€¦