By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE Bahamas Nurses Union has filed a formal trade dispute with the Department of Labour, its Director Robert Farquharson confirmed yesterday, adding he was “confident” all grievances on the table would be amicably resolved.
This action on the part of the BNU means the Labour Department will now begin to formally process the BNU’s dispute.
“They filed a formal trade dispute Wednesday,” Mr Farquharson told The Tribune. “It means that the department will hold meetings, which has already started, to try and reach a resolution that is fair and satisfactory to all sides.
“I have confidence that we will solve the issues because there is a willingness from both sides to resolve them.”
This comes after the BNU said it would apply to the Labour Board for permission to hold a strike vote concerning its dispute with the Public Hospitals Authority over a shift system.
However, on Sunday Mr Farquharson said there was no such application before the department from the BNU.
It is unclear whether the union still intends to take this route now that the formal trade dispute has been filed.
BNU President Amancha Williams had announced the union’s plan to apply to the Labour Board for permission to hold a strike vote over a shift system for non-union members.
The union threatened industrial action over a dispute 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.
She 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.
Last week, Ms Williams noted the union’s hopes to apply to the Department of Labour for permission to hold a strike vote concerning its issues with the shift system.
At the time, she noted the union’s possession of a strike vote certificate, which she said was approved last year. However, she said the union wants to ensure that it is still valid for use to allow the union to “do what we need to do.”