EMS workers back to work after COVID-19 safety protest

EMS workers back to work after COVID-19 safety protest

Health Minister commits to $5,000 honorarium 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A number of National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) workers staged a sick-out over safety concerns but have since returned to work.

In a statement, the Public Hospitals Authority confirmed the essential workers withdrew their services at midnight Friday.

NEMS leadership and the Bahamas Public Services Union met with Health Minister Dr Duane Sands today to discuss their safety concerns on the frontlines of the country’s fight against the coronavirus.

Sands reportedly made assurances to the staff, including the commitment to provide an honorarium of up to $5,000 for all frontline staff engaged in COVID-19 healthcare service delivery.

According to the statement, the minister “reiterated the role of the National Insurance Board benefits arising from the pandemic”.

The group also discussed their government-obligated death benefit of $100,000 in the event of that they contracted the respiratory illness on the job and died.

BPSU President Kimsley Ferguson could not be reached for comment.

Director of Labor John Pinder told Eyewitness News that the matter has been rectified and things are back to normal.

He could not indicate how many workers called in sick, or whether the action had any impact on the delivery of healthcare.

As of Saturday, there have been 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases in the country and four related deaths.