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Nurses still not paid money owed by government

BNU President Amancha Williams. (File photo)

BNU President Amancha Williams. (File photo)

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Nurses Union President Amancha Williams is disappointed her members have still not been paid money owed to them by the government.

Meanwhile, Labour Director John Pinder sought to justify this telling The Tribune that due to the state of the country’s financial affairs, government has to prioritise what it spends.

However, he said nurses will be paid at some point.

In December, after being promised payment over a period of several months, Nurse Williams issued government an ultimatum giving it to the end of that month to release the funds.

But, government has failed to pay the promised COVID-19 stipend and overtime owed to nurses who worked for up to 16 hours a day during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Speaking with The Tribune Friday, Nurse Williams confirmed that the nurses have still not been paid and at this point, all communications between the Ministry of Health and the BNU have been cut off.

She said: “We can’t just sit down and take this. These guys are no longer even answering us. It’s like we are nobody. This is where we are at? We had a meeting with the Minister (of Health) after Boxing Day and we saw him last week Friday after being awarded by Jones Communications. He said he was going to call me on Saturday and he never did. He brushed us off. They have not paid us what’s owed from the 31st (December).

“They do not answer our calls. We tried to get some information from the Permanent Secretary, but nothing’s happening. The question is where is Labour? Where is the Director of Labour? Where is the Minister of Labour? When these things are not happening and they know they are not doing right by the employees, then they should step in. Why should the public have to suffer?

Asked if industrial action was the next step for workers, seeing that they were not getting anywhere with receiving monies owed, Nurse Williams was non-committal.

She said there are many things to look at before considering industrial action, however, she did not say that that form of action would not be taken.

The Tribune contacted the Director of Labour to inquire as to when the nurses would receive their funds. He said he felt confident that the government would make good on its promise of paying what is owed to the nurses, but the timing was bad as “things are tight” with the government’s finances.

The Tribune also asked Mr Pinder if there was anything he could do to oversee and speed up the process.

Mr Pinder said: “It is very little I can do besides to ensure that the government is committed to paying them. And, I already know that the government is committed to making those payments. The minister made mention of that and the prime minister made mention of that. It is just unfortunate that things are very tight at this time.

“I think the government’s focus at this time is trying to keep the civil service employed and salary going. I am sure, at some point, the nurses will get what they are entitled to. They have demonstrated their commitment to being on the front line during the pandemic and the government has committed to those payments.”

Mr Pinder went on to explain that although the government has acknowledged that the money is owed and will be paid, it now has to prioritise with its spending.

He continued: “The revenue is down in the country for a whole fiscal year so far, so the government has to prioritise. There are people who are owed overtime and some other benefits, but meanwhile you have to look at the people who you have to pay salaries to. One thing civil servants know is that the government will owe you, but the government will pay you. It’s guaranteed that you will be paid. Now sometimes it’s late, but you will be paid.”

Nurse Williams said she is very disappointed in the manner in which the government is treating its frontline workers.

Comments

Pearl 3 years, 4 months ago

Unbelievable, But I'm sure the government will have plenty of money for male 'priorities' that don't involve paying the nurses (mainly women) for their valuable work in looking after the health of the community.

UN 3 years, 4 months ago

“For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will they do when it is dry.” - Jesus

Good times: ‘Richest Woman In The Bahamas’, ‘Ms. 80 Million’, ‘You don’t know about the 80’, “40’ (2 ppl stole 40 mil each?). Only taunts and we’ll sit in our ac’d cars watching you walk in the sun and rain while others (who possibly have comforts you’ve never enjoyed - indoor laundry, central air, a FULLY stocked fridge, etc) benefit from money meant for you.

Bad times: we have ppl looking out for us, it’s STILL all a we vs one a you (our sick brains still think this is normal - explains the high rape stat). Things are bad for ALL, which means OUR ‘rich’ obsession may end up homeless and we’ll feel no guilt (let’s ignore your EIGHT YEAR ordeal). Logic: when it comes to showing integrity - the time is always right.

As for the we-always-have-to-make-it-about-us Gals: I find it very sad how a female being stalked equals using her to get attention. Confirms a lot of daddy didn’t want us & moma wasn’t motherly issues. Yes, very telling - the quiet one even has strangers from Alaska ‘knowing’ her aka watching paint dry. But MANY of us need to use ONE you to get attention (by resorting to sly we-still-lil-girls insults).

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

These nurses know all the fat cats in government are still receiving their full pay, many allowances and other significant benefits from the PM right on down to the umpteen members of all of the unnecessary (do nothing) agencies, SPVs, commissions and committees that Minnis has added to our grossly over-bloated and unsustainable public sector payroll since May 2017.

And they also know Labour Director John Pinder is among those still living a relatively good life with no reduction in his pay, allowances and other benefits notwithstanding that the incompetence failed policies and rampant corruption of the Minnis-led administration have basically assured our nation will soon be joining the likes of Haiti and Venezuela.

KapunkleUp 3 years, 4 months ago

Pigs would truly fly if we were to see all the cabinet ministers (and other government types) leading by example and taking a pay cut to help out those in need.

Hoda 3 years, 4 months ago

how do you know they don't help persons in need? How much do you two donate and give to those in need every month?

thomas 3 years, 4 months ago

Taxpayers "us" pay them plenty money for nothing and when they give some of it back we should be grateful. How about they leave it in the treasury and distribute it evenly.

Hoda 3 years, 4 months ago

Your employer probably has similarly thoughts about you. If you have employees they probably have similarly thoughts about what u pay. But let’s focus on the question I asked, how much do you give to persons in need?

thomas 3 years, 4 months ago

Maybe I am the person in need and as for the statement here before the question, you need grammarly

Hoda 3 years, 4 months ago

I may need grammerly. From the looks of your first statement that proposition could certainly be put to you. Nonetheless, I guess the answer is “absolutely nothing, I offer the country nothing but my complaints. Nothing, nothing but my lack of skill, lack of wit, ornery temper and upset that my life sucks”.

Hoda 3 years, 4 months ago

Also, if you are referring to the “two” you are an idiot - but it’s very cute. Oh you mean the ly - added by the predictive text. You’re right, I should certainly check my phonetic agreement when making comments. I would hate for you to think I need grammerly. How will I get through my day now... Go think of a wittier insult and come again.

Hoda 3 years, 4 months ago

Sigh. It’s the tiredness for me. Bye sis....“Bye Felicia” is very 2019, keep those played out lines on Facebook.

bogart 3 years, 4 months ago

Nurses working and continuous complaining not getting paid in light the govt official view of other priorities getting paid is misguided govt official's view.. First the Nurses and Medical staff is in the front taking care of the ill and part of this terrible Covid situation. After the Medical situation is being brought under control to workable levels, the govt finds some 20 million to create jobs for sidewalks, then millions of dollars to settle corrupt land situation with acreage claimed by major land Developer etc.

These Nurses would have been better off working at Bahamasair continuously bleeding money adding tens of millions of dollatd to taxpayers by doing little or no work and getting paid. Seems something is blatently egregious wrong for these Nurses to be always going through these situations not getting outstanding money from times before Covid and now during Covid.

sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

How can Govt justify giving out any further allowances when 50,000 people have NO jobs right now? .......... Minnis wants to win in 2022 ........ Better to offend a few nurses than the rest of the public.

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

Minnis offends us everytime he approves a government contract that squanders our country's very limited financial resources, while unjustly enriching one or more of his favoured cronies who received the contract. And with Minnis this is much more the norm than the exception.

sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

Tribanon ......... name 5 such contracts/projects (with evidence) or forever hold your peace

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

You've got to be kidding, right?! If not, far be it for me to indulge your ignorance. LOL

Topdude 3 years, 4 months ago

Tribanon has a bee in his/her bonnet when it comes To our Prime Minister. With this negative halo in viewing the PM, it would not make any difference if our Prime Minister came up with a Scientifically proven cure for COVID-19 , this miscreant will still criticize him. Psychiatrists refer to this type of behavior as the dog in the manger syndrome. Further, they say this behavior Pattern is present in individuals who are depressed, frustrated and Have to troll the Internet for their jollies. Please carefully review the comments of this person and you will see the pattern.

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

LMAO. It seems you haven't noticed that just about every Bahamian now has a bee in their bonnet when it comes to Minnis. You need to venture more often outside of your small bubble of Minnis and his cohorts.

sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

Tribanon, your deflections do not count ....... don't bring your Trumpisms on this site .......... inciting rumours can lead you to court

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

Is our new police state going to impeach me and any other voice of opposition that gets under the skin of our supreme ruler and his closely knit circle of equally despicable cohorts? LOL

thps 3 years, 4 months ago

"Meanwhile, Labour Director John Pinder sought to justify this telling The Tribune that due to the state of the country’s financial affairs, government has to prioritise what it spends."

Can the government at least list who in similar positions have been paid so we can all see which groups of persons are prioritized over the other groups? Can the Tribune find out if others are experiencing the same or is it just the nurses?

Meanwhile, Bahamasair will cost the taxpayer about 70m and we're still running the Grand Lucaya.

mandela 3 years, 4 months ago

The nurses should have been paid out of the 20 million they used to build sidewalks. Priority, sidewalks against important and critically needed health care workers. No wonder E is now a passing grade in the school system. This government is surely making that point.

bogart 3 years, 4 months ago

"But the government has failed to pay the promised COVID-19 stipend and overtime owed to nurses who have worked up to 16 hours per day during the height of the COvid-19 Pandemic last year."

"In December, after being promised payment over several months Nurse Williams issued an ultimatum giving it to the end of that month to release that payment."

No employer, person(s), entitities should encourage, induce, promise legally biding workers to pay the employees for work and THEN refusing to pay. Mr. Pinder the Govt Labour Bourd expert should know better, but then again the Nurses would have to join the line Courts awarded people money owed to them by Govts. for years and years....and the senior people causing this seems fraud on workers don't go to jail.

sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

No civil servant has gotten allowances etc since July 2020 .......... except the politicians????

Hoda 3 years, 4 months ago

exactly, what nonsense. there are many public servants and private sector employees working long hours and overtime, that they don't get to claim for. The nurses are referring to specific covid 19 bonus etc they were promised. Another example of Bahamian jealousy and ignorance.

M0J0 3 years, 4 months ago

in all fairness give the nurses what they deserve, they were working when many were home comfy locked down. I feel the police should also be given hazard pay. It is unfair to see millions spent on sidewalks and those helping to save lives must wait months to be paid what is owed to them.

Hoda 3 years, 4 months ago

True, that project is difficult to swallow. However, I appreciate that that is money is the pocket of men and women who probably wouldn’t be working either.

M0J0 3 years, 4 months ago

well that is true but the nurses earned it if not all least give them a half payment.

sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

If anyone has been following the MOF recently, the Govt is in no position to extend any further allowances to civil servants or NIB freebees to non-paying citizens ....... The bleeding has to stop, the 2020-21 budget deficit is almost $1Billion ......... We have no Fort Knox ........ We have a lot of pine, salt, sand, fish, land, & oil .......... For what its worth (without our apparent local innovative spirit).

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

Oil ! Really ? Are Greek Bahamians growing plenty of olive trees somewhere in the Bahamas for the making of olive oil ? LOL

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