Tue | Jan 15, 2019

Junior doctors in Bahamas vote to strike

Published:Tuesday | December 18, 2018 | 11:03 AM
CMC photo.

NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – Junior doctors have voted to take industrial action, two weeks after senior doctors ended their strike and nurses voted to strike over working conditions and salary increases.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said the Hubert Minnis government wanted to avoid another shutdown of services in the public healthcare system and hopes to resolve the matter.

“To the best of my knowledge the strike vote was taken, or the application for the strike [vote] was taken at the time when there was no offer to remedy the outstanding issue.

“But that has now changed, so we shall see. We have no interest in any interruption of service. I think this is now getting to the point of inconveniencing the public,” Sands added.

More than 200 junior doctors voted to strike over pay and according to the President of the Bahamas Doctors Union Dr Melisande Bassett physicians are not paid, like everybody else, the double pay that they are entitled to when working on holidays.

“It’s an illegal practice. It’s an issue we’ve been battling with Public Hospitals Authority and the board since 2012. We’ve filed a trade dispute with (the Department of Labour) actually on two occasions to have them begin to start paying doctors.

“So where we’re at now is if we can’t get this solved amicably, we’re going to have to take strike action against them because they will not follow proper protocols and procedures to negotiate in good faith,” she said.

Earlier this year, the junior doctors staged a demonstration in front of the Princess Margaret Hospital claiming that those who work on public holidays have consistently not been compensated.

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