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Nurses Union 'Still Processing' Whether To Take Strike Action

By MORGAN ADDERLEY

Tribune Staff Reporter

madderley@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Nurses Union is still "processing" whether to take strike action, BNU President Amancha Williams told The Tribune yesterday.

However, there have been no other updates regarding the dispute between the BNU and the Public Hospitals Authority.

The origin of the dispute comes from the BNU threatening industrial action over an issue with the PHA concerning expatriate nurses on contract being asked to work 12-hour shifts.

Ms Williams previously said while that matter specifically impacts expatriate nurses, it still concerns those covered by the union.

Unionised nurses reportedly work four days and are off for four days.

Ms Williams previously noted the union fought against the shift system for its members. However, she claimed the PHA did not consult with the union concerning the new shift system for foreign nurses.

A meeting was held on Friday between representatives from the BNU, PHA and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Obie Ferguson. It was chaired by Department of Labour Director Robert Farquharson.

Mr Farquharson told The Tribune on Sunday that the meeting was "very productive and positive". He added that there is "no such strike application" before the Department of Labour from the BNU.

Solution

Mr Farquharson reiterated these sentiments to reporters at a press conference on Monday. He said a solution had been found, but that he did not want to go into any specifics at the time.

He added that there would be another discussion on the matter later that day and reiterated that there is no application for a strike vote before the minister.

In a follow up yesterday, Mr Farquharson told The Tribune that a conference call did take place between the parties.

While he refrained from discussing specifics regarding a solution, he said: "We have further developed our road mark."

However, Ms Williams told The Tribune yesterday that she was not a part of Monday's conference call.

When asked whether there have been any updates regarding the threatened strike action, Ms Williams said: "There's no update. We are processing it.

"They said it has to be processed, so we are processing it."

"We'll call you when we're updating it. Our meeting is on Thursday."

Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes was also asked about the dispute on Monday. He told reporters: "I do not want to get into the details about the nurses' union matter.

"I haven't been totally briefed by the director as yet. There's a process that we have when a trade dispute is filed and I generally do not get involved with that process.

"Because the appeal of that process is to me."

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