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Doctors union eyeing strike vote over contracts

Amid dissatisfaction over junior doctors being issued one-year contracts, Bahamas Doctors’ Union (BDU) President Dr. Melisande Bassett said yesterday that the union is eyeing a strike poll.

“We have spoken with authorities at Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), as well as the Department of [Public] Health regarding the issuing of one-year contracts to our junior doctors who are a part of our bargaining unit,” Bassett said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.

“To date, we haven’t had a satisfactory answer as to why specific doctors are being singled out for one-year contracts or what the guidelines for the issuing of those contracts [are].

“Further, the whole process of issuing one-year contracts goes against our industrial agreement and certainly doesn’t follow the common practice of issuing three-year contracts.

“Now, a deviation from this we feel is something that should have been discussed with the union as we are the sole bargaining agent.

“We do have an industrial agreement and it’s the lack of respect and the legality of that document that we have to contest.”

Bassett added that the union is eyeing a strike poll within the upcoming days.

Last December, junior doctors voted to strike on claims that there was an unresolved issue over holiday pay.

Bassett claimed junior doctors had been battling the PHA over holiday pay for over seven years.

The Guardian understands that PHA proposed to give $2,500 to $2,900 to each junior doctor who would have been engaged by the PHA over the 47 holidays up to October 2018. However, Bassett said the offer was insulting.

Yesterday, Basset said her union also reached out to Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands concerning the one-year contracts.

Reached for comment on the matter yesterday, the PHA said they are reviewing the matter and will offer a response shortly. However, Sands could not be reached for comment up to press time.

Laurent Rolle

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Laurent started at The Nassau Guardian in May 2018 as a paginator. He transitioned to reporting in February 2019. Laurent has covered multiple crime stories. He is the author of “Yello”, which was published in February 2019.
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year

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