Dozens of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) employees demonstrated in front of the hospital yesterday, demanding that the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) stop “stalling” the renegotiation of their industrial agreement.
The employees were led by Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) President Kimsley Ferguson mere hours after scores of doctors at PMH went on strike.
Ferguson advised the PHA to not “muzzle the ox that treads the corn”, noting that his union members at the hospital are “hardworking employees”.
“If the prime minister and the minister of health want a fight, a fight it is they will get, and we’re going to do this until such time as we get results,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson added, “We’re here today because we have been in discussions with the prime minister for a particular sum of money that would’ve impacted the workers here at PHA as well.”
The BPSU has placed a proposal for a “$350 increase, a lump sum payment of $3,500, another increase of $200 and another lump sum payment, and then a salary review”, according to Ferguson.
“The workers at PHA, they feel oppressed,” Ferguson said.
“There are a number of industrial relations issues that are not being addressed. There is an outstanding hazard pay situation that these people await a resolve on. It appears to us that the PHA is stalling. We would’ve had negotiations reference to the financial aspect to the agreement and the deputy managing director sought to go after the agreement that the non-financial team was addressing.
“I saw it as a stalling tactic and we would not have that. We need to expeditiously get through the agreement so that these persons can receive the monies that are due to them.”
Last week, Ferguson claimed that meetings for negotiations with PHA had been postponed for nearly 10 weeks.
However, the PHA has denied that claim.
On August 15, the authority said, “At the onset of negotiations, both parties agreed to specific conditions to ensure a proper, cordial engagement over the term of the negotiation period, including a separation of negotiation into non-financial and financial matters.”