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BDU cancels meeting with Department of Labour

The Bahamas Doctors Union (BDU) canceled a meeting with the Director of Labour John Pinder today amid legal concerns over an agreement it made with the prime minister over the weekend, Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said.

This is the second meeting that has been canceled, since roughly 420 doctors on New Providence and Grand Bahama withdrew their services last Wednesday.

On Friday, the junior doctors were expected to meet with Pinder to hand over documents that were requested by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis following a meeting with the union on Wednesday.

However, BDU President Dr. Melisande Bassett said the union was “ambushed” by Ministry of Health officials, which resulted in the cancellation of that meeting.

The key issue is holiday pay, with the union claiming that the doctors are not being paid for working on holidays.

According to Sands, Minnis agreed to pay doctors their back pay in two installments before the end of the year. However, he said the BDU is now seeking additional assurances.

The ongoing strike has resulted in the availability of only emergency services at public hospitals.

Sands said on Saturday the current state of the healthcare system is “not sustainable” as nearly 70 percent of the doctors in the country are taking part in the withdrawal of services.

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