A new healthcare plan will be a top priority for the Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) as it heads into negotiations for a new industrial agreement later this year.
BPSU President John Pinder told the Bahama Journal yesterday that the union plans to head to the bargaining table as early as October when it will propose a new comprehensive healthcare plan.
Mr. Pinder said the union wants to get a head start on negotiations so that the government is able to make financial provisions in its 2013/2014 budget.
And while the union is not looking for much more benefits, Mr. Pinder said health insurance will be the deal breaker.
“We wished we could have accomplished health insurance for all of our members in the last agreement, but that never happened,” Mr. Pinder said following the signing of a new industrial agreement at the Public Service Office Wednesday.
“The former government,” he said, “Spoke about just covering catastrophic illness and that was one thing that was deleted from the recent agreement we signed.”
He continued saying, “This new government, however, seems to support our view to bring health insurance for our members. So we are hoping in the next industrial agreement, we will get some sort of health insurance for the entire bargaining unit.”
Additionally, the union will propose the establishment of a promotions committee or some promotions taskforce to deal specifically with promotions for a more transparent approach.
This, Mr. Pinder said, would ensure that members are not disadvantaged and that those who are deserving of promotions are given an opportunity to advance in the public service.
“Also, we would like for the government to put some level of concentration on proper accommodations in the public service,” he said.
“Too many of our members work in condemned buildings, so hopefully moving forward we will have those issues addressed.”
The new industrial agreement will also call for more timely evaluations by supervisors and an increase in risk allowance and hazardous pay.
Mr. Pinder said the BPSU is also hoping to establish a clear career path for human resources managers in the public service.
He said they will also seek to get the salaries of social workers on par with that of labour officers, which he insists is significantly less despite the fact that social workers – in some cases – are more qualified.