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Strike Wishlist: Doctors' Demands Include Duty-Free Car And No Property Tax

Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

By TANEKA THOMPSON

Tribune News Editor

tmthompson@tribunemedia.net

JUNIOR doctors have asked for real property tax exemptions, Crown land for the construction of an office, duty-free exemptions on car imports or the construction of a paid parking lot at Princess Margaret Hospital with the proceeds to be split between the government and the Bahamas Doctors Union.

The demands are set out in a document sent by BDU to the government last week, which itemises issues the union wants discussed when it meets with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, Public Hospitals Authority officials and labour representatives today. This comes as junior doctors continue their strike and public healthcare services remain limited to emergency treatment only.

Among seven items on BDU’s agenda for discussion, the union said a timeline and agreement on one of the following demands must be signed off on.

The BDU document states: “Identify one non-monetary compensation option as proposed in our communique to on March 7, 2019: Increase the current health insurance benefits of junior doctors to that on par with that of police officers, immigration officers. Construct a paid parking facility on the hospital grounds for public use.

“The profits are to be shared equally between the government of The Bahamas and the BDU, after construction costs are met. The profits from the venture will be paid out equally to all BDU members in perpetuity.”

“As in practice in Jamaica, give doctors duty-free exemptions on one vehicle every three years. Grant exemption from real property tax. Crown land for the construction of the BDU office.”

Other issues the doctors have asked to be addressed at today’s meeting includes the abolition of one and two-year employment contracts; the reinstatement of intern housing allowance and on-premises hospital housing and the removal of the stipulation that doctors ‘swipe in’ prior to receiving holiday pay. Of this latter request, the union has asked that the existing reimbursement method be used, which is the holiday claim form.

The union is also asking to be the sole bargaining agent for public dentists; that the parity in salaries between Department of Public Health physicians and Public Hospitals’ Authority physicians be rectified and that doctors who have not received a pay package or allowances during BDU’s last industrial agreement be regularised and receive back pay.

In the document, BDU also said it accepts the proposed pay out of approximately $5 million covering the period of June 2014 to October 2018, which is to be paid to junior doctors in two instalments. The first instalment at the end of August and the second in December.

“A third payment is to be made for the year 2018 at a date to be determined,” BDU noted.

When contacted yesterday about the standoff with the government and BDU, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said the nation’s leader has been “most flexible and receptive to the concerns of the physicians.”

Dr Sands said: “He has met with them, he has given them assurances that the substantive issue that has lent to this action will be positively resolved in their favour in a timeframe even more rapid than they had hoped for previously so.

“This is not an issue where there is an arbitrary position that is held. We can do what it is possible to do, every decision, every intervention has consequences whether those consequences are seen or unseen predictable or otherwise we have to try to make decisions so we don’t get down the road and say collectively as a country well why didn’t you say this could have happened. We didn’t know that this was going to be a potential outcome.”

More than 400 junior doctors across the country went on strike Wednesday, frustrated by longstanding disputes.

As the strike stretches on, it is unclear if the government will give in to the union’s demands, reach a compromise or refer the matter to the Industrial Tribunal, which could put an end to the strike without an agreement being reached.

Section 72 of the Industrial Relations Act outlines the procedure for a minister to refer a labour dispute to the tribunal when dealing with an essential service. The law states that when a settlement has not been reached within 16 days, then the minister may refer the dispute to the tribunal if in his opinion the public interest so requires.

“The provision of any hospital service,” falls under essential services.

Comments

ohdrap4 1 month, 3 weeks ago

MONEY GRABBERS.

I see they want to share profits, will they share the expenses?

I have always been against the WTO, but now I can go there and take this property tax allowance from these mobey grabbers.

And let's not forget, last time they wanted w00 thousand salary, more than the prime minister.

As long as there are medical schools in the Phillipines, we will be ok.

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Godson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

YES... OF COURSE!... and let them have first preference to all of the blessings of God; and furthermore, the Lord should answer only their (Doctors) prayers

WHAT A GENERATION OF DOCTORS THIS IS HEH?

I THANK GOD TO BE ALIVE STILL. I AM LIVING IN THIS TIME AND I AM AMAZED STILL AS TO WHAT THESE PAPER QUALIFIED PERSONS (DOCTORS) THINK THEY DESERVE ABOVE THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

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joeblow 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Can you imagine the precedent compliance with these ridiculous demands would have on other unions in this country? What they are doing should be considered extortion and dealt with accordingly!

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observer2 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Yes, as a public school teacher and part of the Bahamas Teachers Union I would like to have all school children be forced to buy all their school uniforms and school books from a company owned by the Teachers Union and the profits split between government and the union.

Also all text books must written by school teachers and sold to the children.

Also all food vendors at the schools must be owned by the Union and profits split with the government.

All computers must be sold to the children by the union.

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Godson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

...and all ideas that educate and would be beneficial to the advancement of the children must originate from the Union members. Otherwise, not to be taught in public schools.

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DDK 1 month, 3 weeks ago

These so-called 'doctors' and their union are shameless in their greed! Perhaps they should become politicians!

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Godson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I hear that medicine has advanced so that one can get a heart transplant. I think these doctors should be recipients as such... literally and figuratively.

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aburrows242 1 month, 3 weeks ago

If any of you read the article you would see that the union provided a list of OPTIONS. The union president is quoted as saying: "“Identify one non-monetary compensation option as proposed in our communique to on March 7, 2019" These are not demands. The union is saying if the money is not there to pay the backpay then consider one of these non-monetary options for compensation.

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ConchFretter 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Junior doctors playing hard ball now!!

Going on strike and refusing to work (except in life-and-death situations) and asking for FAR more now than they had originally been seeking.

Check!

It is your move now, government...

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geostorm 1 month, 3 weeks ago

government's move, get rid of the entire lot of them! They are surely being ridiculous in their demands.

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ABOMINATION 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Agreed but we should move for the Abolition of Real property Tax! ALL YOU JOURNALIST, GO AND ASK THE GOVERNMENT HOW MUCH THEY ARE PAYING FOR THOSE CONSULTANTS TO PUT IN AN EXPENSIVE SYSTEM FOR REAL PROPERTY TAX. THEY ARE SENDING THEM OUT TO YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY! HOW DARE THEY..NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO COME ON YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY TO VALUE IT AND THEN CHARGE YOU FOR IT. NO WAY.....GOVERNMENT DONT PAY US WHEN OUR PIPES GET ROTTEN, OR THE HOUSE IS FALLING APART, WHO HAS TO PAY TO FIX IT. SO WHAT THE HELL IS THIS REAL PROPERTY TAX ABOUT. Its insane and extortion. No one should have to pay for life Real Property Tax, you work hard enough trying to pay off your 25 yr mortgages, only to be saddled again with a lifetime tax that is not constitutional! Everyone should read this, and think. https://www.debate.org/opinions/shoul...">https://www.debate.org/opinions/shoul...

Why do we allow Governments, or vote them in, to tax us to poverty! If you do the Math, we are paying substantial taxes in this country, and get nothing back! Why cant we just be Leaders not followers? Not all Laws created are reasonable, and as such, we need to rid ourselves of the ones that extort from us. ABOLISH REAL PROPERTY TAX!

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Clamshell 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sooner or later there will come a day when, by coincidence, everybody in the nation is on strike at the same time.

Oh, wait a minute ... come to think of it, we already have that ... I think it’s called “Friday.”

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bahamianson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

We are on a Hamster wheel , and it is not looking good. Who is going to pay for these constant raises and perks? There is only so much in the economy plus hurricane season that normally can run a slow 150,000,000 to 200, 000,000. $29 departure tax plus VAT, $ 5.00 for police record that was $2.50 , bus drivers want an increase ,and the list goes on. When will this end. I am not an economist , but I think we are in a recession/depression. We are in trouble and no one seems to have the answers.....

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DDK 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"In modern society, social democratic countries and political parties tend to focus on human rights issues. Social democratic countries typically have strict protections for minority groups. They also often attempt to distribute wealth equally throughout the population. Social democracies typically provide government-funded healthcare, subsidized higher education and aid for the elderly, among other social welfare initiatives." "Unlike socialism, which advocates the nationalization of businesses and other sectors, social democratic countries generally do not emphasize government takeovers of industry. Not all social democrats agree on capitalism, however; some believe that capitalism should be eliminated."

I think we need to decide and affirm what kind of governance we expect of our country in this day and time. It cannot be all ways. We seems to have a hodgepodge of philosophies and practices....

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TalRussell 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Regardless the state facilitates and medical equipment, the quality health care delivered to patients of the comrade Doctors and Nurses, along with the hospitals Support Staff at Prince Margaret Hospital (PMH) - are no different than given the exact same stove, recipe to cook pot Peas n' Rice, the one cook more passionate who takes no shortcuts - will always have best spot at delivering to the dinner table a more tasty rice roof of your mouth, yes, no....

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Topdude 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Could it be that these “Doctors “ are tampering with some medications that cause hallucinations? How in the world can a group of professionals who have taken an Oath to harm no one behave in this manner by requesting that which is unachievable to justify staying away from work?

It is clear from the list of demands that they are being manipulated by PLP forces. This is clear simply because they do not understand basic economics when they prattle for demands that are convoluted . They are not only cutting off their noses to spite their faces, they are probably hell bent on causing an increase in illnesses to our people to justify the demand for their services.

The Government should issue an ultimatum to them: Return to work immediately or we will consider that your actions constitute resignation from your jobs.

There are hundred of similarly qualified Caribbean Doctors who are unemployed and would fit into the culture nicely. Additionally, we can source Doctors from all over the world within a moment’s notice.

A sick and chronically ill person will not think of where the Doctor originated from when he/she needs the condition he/she is suffering from needs immediate attention.

Once the Government starts sacking these clowns , you will see how many of these jokers put their tails between their legs and run back to work. That will be the end of solidarity. Then let the PLP find work for those who are sacked.

The sacking should take place in a phased manner. Sacking the most experienced is the way to implement this strategy to break this most unprofessional display of puppetry.

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juju 1 month, 3 weeks ago

So do I want a duty free car and no real property tax and Crown Land property to build my office. Are you kidding me?? Fire them all and hire doctors who really want to work as doctors.Why should they be treated any differently by Government?

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B_I_D___ 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Welcome to the 'Millennials'!! Worthless generation!!

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hrysippus 1 month, 3 weeks ago

And the economic death spiral of the country continues to tighten. This is what 40 years of entitlement mentality leads to; I am entitled to freedom from Property Tax, I am entitled to a new free car every 3 years. I am entitled. "Socialism works well until you run out of people to borrow money from to fund it" PM Margaret Thatcher. We have run out of people to borrow money from after 46 years of government borrowing and fiscal irresponsibility. Congratulations lousy Finance Ministers, Greedy union Leaders, and a D- electorate who got exactly the government that they deserved.

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