BPSU president concerned about overtime pay

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – President of The Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU), Kimsley Ferguson, on Tuesday expressed his concerns as it relates to overtime pay for persons employed by the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA).

According to Ferguson, there was a document circulating about two weeks ago which stated that persons who had worked overtime for the months of October, November and December would not be paid until February.

Ferguson noted, however, that the union’s industrial agreement clearly indicates that if a person decides to work overtime, prior approval must be given and the overtime should be paid no later than the following month.

Ferguson said if adjustments were going to be made or the PHA found themselves in a tough position where they did not have the means to address the overtime situation, various bargaining agents should have been consulted to address the matter.

“Both concerns relating to overtime took me by surprise,” Ferguson admitted.

“I haphazardly came across the first email that indicated that persons would not be paid until February, then I haphazardly came across another email that indicated that persons wishing to work overtime [was] based on the availability of funding.”

Ferguson told Eyewitness News that he is concerned that their agreement is not being adhered to if there is an accumulation of overtime for October, November and December.

“That’s a clear breach of the agreement,” he said.

“If there is a challenge, we are the bargaining agents for these people. There should’ve been consultation with us so that we could assemble our people, have a meeting with them, and express what the position of the PHA is,” the BPSU President said.

Ferguson said that anything in excess of 40 hours in a week and eight hours in a day is considered overtime and persons should have the right to choose whether or not they would like to work overtime.

“Nobody can force you to work beyond eight hours in a day,” Ferguson stressed.

The BPSU President that the only persons that are offered time back in lieu of days worked are supervisors and managers, but line staff are to be paid for their overtime services.