Nurses, teachers still fed-up; strike action may be imminent

Nurses, teachers still fed-up; strike action may be imminent
Amancha Williams

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The heads of two major unions in the country are once again threatening to strike if their concerns continue to fall on deaf ears.

Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) president Amancha Williams and Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) president Belinda Wilson told the media on Friday that they are fed-up and have had enough when it comes to the government’s inability to address ongoing issues that continue to plague each union.

According to BUT president Belinda Wilson, the union presented the government with a document some nine months ago with its grievances but to date, there has been no response.

“[If] they are having a challenge getting us a counter proposal, then write to us formally, because February 7 was the deadline for them to present their proposal to us but it’s almost April the 7,” Wilson said.

BNU President Amancha Williams also expressed her concern about the government hiring foreign nurses and being able to pay them while local nurses were not receiving their owed overtime pay.

“The nurses in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas are facilitating your shortage by giving up their day off to ensure that the hospital is provided with quality care. At the end of the day, pay the nurses.”

Williams also claimed that communication with heads at PMH was poor.

“We were told by the MD we will only see her every three months,” Williams alleged.  “With the former MD we had every month, we had a relationship. We knew what was going on in PMH and the other rest of health care. But with this MD it’s a change. We have to improve the service of our hospital.”

As for the BUT president, Wilson said it was “sickening” that the government could not follow the policies or the laws that are in place as it relates to dealing with the union.

“[With] consecutive governments, the problems still exist [and] the technocrats are not leading their areas. They are not effective and they just continue to stay in the positions and in some instances be promoted,” Wilson said.

If a resolution is not made soon for teachers, Wilson said that a trade dispute is forthcoming.

As for the nurses, Williams said the union has already obtained a strike certificate and the next move lies in the government’s hands [to address their concerns].