Meeting with PM scheduled for January
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis is stepping in to hopefully resolve the ongoing issues between the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) and the Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU), according to
BNU President Amancha Williams.
The two groups have been at odds for weeks and negotiations have stalled.
Williams told Eyewitness News Online on Sunday that the union has finally received its strike certificate and will move ahead with its plans for industrial action.
The meeting with the Prime Minister is expected to happen in January, however Williams would not say whether the union will strike before then.
She also refuted claims that the new shift system was the only unresolved issue with the PHA.
“We have several issues outstanding,” Williams said.
“The nurses are still waiting for payment as of today, so we are still waiting for the PHA to pay the money owed to the nurses.
“We are still looking for money owed to nurses in Freeport for an increment and so those persons did those degrees and were not paid for the degrees and also overtime, we are still waiting.
“We are also waiting for PHA to pay the NIB for nurses, so there are several issues.”
Almost two weeks ago, hundreds of nurses, unable to come to an agreement with the PHA on a new shift system, voted in favour of a strike.
A total of 570 nurses in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Exuma voted in favour of striking and three voted “no”.
The PHA maintained that the implementation of the new shift system would improve the delivery of healthcare to patients and ensure better patient outcomes through better nursing coverage and reductions in nurse-related accidents and errors.
The PHA said the new shift system would eliminate inequities caused by the ‘four nights on/four nights off’ system which resulted in night duty nurses working 157 days per year on average, compared to 234 days per year on average for nurses assigned to day shifts.
The new shift system, the PHA said, would also establish a standardized five-day, 40-hour work week with 8-hour daily shifts.