Categorized | National News

Doctors Increase Demands

Asking for more than holiday pay, The Bahamas Doctors Union (BDU) increased its demands as it outlined a number of issues deserving attention and hopes to discuss them during today’s meeting.

The new demands range from increased health insurance to a request for Crown land for the construction of a BDU office.

The increased demands follow last week’s junior doctors’ strike where doctors withdrew their services from the Princess Margaret Hospital and stood outside demanding their holiday pay, while leaving only emergency staff on the job. 

Today’s  meeting is expected to be held with representatives from the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), Director of Labour John Pinder, a government negotiator, BDU members and members of the Trade Union Congress.

According to the list of new demands, the BDU wants a timeline and agreement on one of its non-monetary compensation options as proposed in its communique on March 7, 2019. 

The non-monetary compensation options include an increase in the current health insurance benefits of junior doctors so that it would be on par with police and immigration officers.

Other non-monetary compensation options call for the construction of a paid parking facility on the hospital grounds for public use and tax exemptions.  

“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,” the BDU’s list of demands noted.

“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.”

The BDU also wants its one and two year contracts to be null and void and no longer issued in the future.

The doctors are also calling for intern housing allowance and on premises hospital housing to be reinstated.

In addition, they want to remove the stipulation that doctors are required to swipe in prior to receiving holiday pay. 

“Further, we request that the existing method for reimbursement be used, i.e. the Holiday Claim Form,” the list explained, adding that “the petition that the BDU become the dentists’ sole bargaining agent be honoured.”

The BDU also indicated that it accepts the proposed pay out of approximately $5 million covering the period of June, 2014 to October, 2018 to be paid to junior doctors in two installments, the first at the end of August, 2019 and the second in December, 2019.  

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

The doctors are also requesting that parity in salaries between the Department of Public Health physicians and PHA physicians be rectified.

“Doctors who have not received the pay package or allowances during our last IA be regularized and receive back pay,” the BDU list of demands explained. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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