Monday, Dec 10, 2018
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Nurses vote to strike

Union says enough is enough
A member of the Bahamas Nurses Union casts a ballot during a strike poll at South Beach Clinic yesterday. Ahvia J. Campbell

The overwhelming majority of nurses who took part in a strike vote yesterday agreed to strike, Director of Labour John Pinder said.

Pinder said the results are preliminary and that nurses can expect to receive their strike certificate as early as Thursday.

Pinder said the preliminary results, from New Providence, Bimini and Crooked Island, showed that 451 nurses voted to strike and three voted no.

Pinder and his team were still awaiting results from Grand Bahama and several other Family Islands, but he said, “Once Nassau is in, that’s it.”

Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) President Amancha Williams said last night, “We are very pleased with the results that we had today and we thank all the nurses.”

Williams added that it is “time for a change and enough is enough”.

The nurses held a strike vote on June 7, but that was declared null and void after it was discovered that there were certain islands where nurses were not able to vote.

Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said the Industrial Relations Act stipulates that all members of a bargaining unit must have an opportunity to vote.

The BNU and the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) have been in negotiations since January over a new shift system and outstanding payments and benefits owed to nurses.

Tensions boiled over after the PHA announced a new eight-hour shift system for nurses that would have started next Monday.

However, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the PHA has delayed the shift system.

This latest action comes as consultant physicians walked off the job last week over several outstanding issues with the PHA.

Williams said the BNU is prepared to strike, even if the senior doctors continue with their withdrawal of services.

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