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Nurses to take strike vote next week

The Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) will hold a strike vote next week Tuesday, according to Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

The Ministry of Labour declared the last strike vote taken by the BNU on June 7, null and void.

“The first vote was ruled to be incomplete because there were certain islands where nurses were not able to cast ballots and the Industrial Relations Act is very clear that all members of the bargaining unit must have an opportunity to vote,” said Foulkes, on the Senate floor.

“Whether they vote or not is not the issue; they must have an opportunity to vote.

“We have looked over the new application by the nurses union and we are satisfied this process is correctly done.

“We will have all the Family Islands properly manned, where we will have labor officers. They will supervise the vote.

“Where we do not have labor officers, the administrators in that island will supervise the strike vote next week Tuesday. But we are hopeful that all of the nurses’ concerns will be addressed.”

The nurses and the Public Hospitals Authority have been in negotiations since the beginning of the new year over a new shift system and other outstanding payments and benefits for nurses.

Last month, the PHA announced a new eight-hour shift system for nurses that would have started on December 10.

The PHA said nurses scheduled to work between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be paid $1.75 per hour in addition to their base pay.

However, the union rejected the new system, asserting that the PHA did not consult them, calling the shift and the premium, insulting.

The union said the new system will not provide sufficient rest periods for nurses.

Both parties have been locked in negotiations for several weeks.

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications
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