The government has paid all the back pay owed to nurses, Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday, but Bahamas Nurses Union President Amancha Williams said nurses have not been paid all that is due to them.
Davis also said salary hikes will happen once the nurses union and the government agree on an amount.
“Suffice to say, what I did promise the nurses is that whatever they were owed in respect to promises made and contractual arrangements made, I would satisfy. That has been done,” Davis said.
“We have paid them all their back pay and all sums that were due to the nurses. With respect to promises made, they were going forward with increases in salaries. If they were to list to me, we have budgeted for the eventual increases in salaries for both nurses and teachers.
“It’s a question of settling the agreement with the union as to what those amounts will be going forward, and that is an ongoing process. From my understanding, we are very close to dealing with those issues.”
After it was elected last year, the Davis administration paid the outstanding payments for the industrial agreement that expired two years ago, Williams said.
“But we’re still here battling what … [is] outstanding from 2020,” she said.
“We are also in arrears for increments that were due the nurses from DPH (the Department of Public Health). The PHA (Public Hospitals Authority) has already paid their increments. But here again, we have the struggle again with the DPH, where the minister of health sits.”
Williams said between $600 and $1,200 is owed to about 300 nurses in the Department of Public Health.
She said nurses at the Department of Public Health are always being left for last.
“They’re servicing our Family Islands and what we give them is like nothing for the job that they do,” Williams said.
“They are always on call. They’re always out there. The patients are always knocking at the nurses’ door. They don’t go to the doctors first. They go to the nurse first. Any time of the night, they call on the nurse and the nurse leaves where she’s at to assist them.”
Speaking about the proposed salary hikes, Williams said the union has done its part and is just waiting on the government.
She said she hopes that matter can be resolved as early as today.