Nurses want owed overtime pay

Nurses want owed overtime pay
Amancha Williams, Bahamas Nurses Union(BNU) President led a protest earlier this year over outstanding overtime payments and other issues. (file photo)

BNU president: Nurses have not been paid overtime for the past two months


NASSAU, BAHAMAS-  Having not been paid overtime for the past two months, President of The Bahamas Nurses Union, Amancha Williams said members are fed-up and are no longer interested in empty promises as it relates to receiving overtime pay.

“This month of January is a really rough month for government workers. No one should be deprived of the overtime,” said Williams on Monday. “The law says once you have worked, the overtime should be paid. They would have gone against the industrial agreement if they didn’t pay the staff this month.”

Williams said the matter must be addressed by The Bahamas Public Services Union [BPSU] as she understands that nurses are not the only persons who were not paid overtime, but also laboratory workers and a number of security officers were reportedly also not paid.

According to the BNU President, nurses have not been paid overtime for the past two months, despite “doing the hospital a favour” by filling in for the lack of staff.

“This overtime that is being paid is what has been owed since November to now,” Williams said. “We don’t work overtime because we want to work overtime. We work overtime because there is a shortage.”

The union president said that agreeing to work overtime is never done as a hobby, but because they need to make ends meet as most nurses are the breadwinners of their family.

Last week, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands refuted the contents of a memo that was reportedly circulating, which asserted that Princess Margaret Hospital employees who had worked overtime during the month of December will not be paid for those extra hours.

“I can say to you categorically that the staff, nurses, line staff, etc will be paid their overtime,” Sands assured.

Meanwhile, Williams said if nurses are not paid on January 29, the Health Minister would be going back on his word.

“They were asking persons to work and they were given their day back up to yesterday. However, Mr. Kimsley Ferguson [the BPSU president] said that should not to happen; that is not in the industrial agreement. They should be paid and not offered time off,” according to Williams.