Operations at several Family Island airports have been severely impacted as staff withdrew labor today amid industrial issues, according to Director of Aviation Algernon Cargill.
The action at airports on Cat Island, Abaco and Bimini come as Public Hospitals Authority Managing Director Catherine Weech confirmed that support staff in multiple departments at Princess Margaret Hospital called in sick today.
Last week, the Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) threatened to shut down Princess Margaret Hospital and airports across The Bahamas unless the government negotiates outstanding industrial agreements.
BPSU President Kimsley Ferguson said the union has been trying to get the agreements signed with the Airport Authority and the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) for “forever”.
Speaking to The Nassau Guardian this morning, Weech said while officials were still seeking to understand to what extent other services are impacted, she said PMH’s morgue staff has called in sick.
“We understand that this is action taken by the Bahamas Public Service Union,” she said.
“The other unions, I’m not sure whether they would join them, but they don’t have the same issue, so we don’t expect that they will.
The BPSU represents ancillary healthcare workers, including individuals who work in the public hospitals’ laboratory and housekeeping departments.
As it relates to the airports, Cargill said employees that withdrew their labor are members of the BPSU as well as other non-management employees of the BPSU.
“I am also aware that this is a coordinated effort on behalf of the Bahamas Public Service Union to withdraw labor irrespective of the fact that the Airport Authority is working in faith with the union to resolve the Family Island issues as it relates to compensation.”
Cargill said he is somewhat surprised by the action.
“It is a major interruption to the traveling public, as well as tourists,” he noted.
“We have mobilized teams to travel from Nassau to the Family Islands to ensure that these airports are opened within the next two hours.”