Categorized | National News

Doctors ‘War Wages On’

Bahamas Doctors Union (BDU) President Dr. Melisande Bassett said yesterday that the “war wages on” as she responded to Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes’ announcement that he referred the union’s matter to the Industrial Tribunal. 

Yesterday marked day seven of the union’s strike action stemming from a decade of outstanding holiday pay. 

“As many of you may know, this has been an arduous process for us and from the moment that we started we spoke about following the law and making sure that we are adherent to it,” Dr. Bassett said.

“We have done everything that we were required to do. We showed up at meetings when we were asked to. We went to the Industrial Tribunal and we went to scheduled meeting. Of course, the ministry and the minister of health never showed up.”

She added that meetings were cancelled and the union was not given due process to actually argue its case.

This, she said, was a “slap in the face to all workers everywhere.”

She said, “If you have a complaint, you should be given the opportunity to argue those issues, to discuss those issues and so sensibly reach a conclusion.”

Yet, she said, the union has been denied the legal right to exercise industrial action. 

Dr. Bassett added that the BDU has been receiving advice from multiple parties on its next move. 

“This may be a small battle that they seemingly may have won, but the war is still being waged. We will not stop,” she said.

The BDU president added that the minister failed to realize that the union has four separate matters they did not attend to at the Industrial Tribunal. 

These are trade disputes that have already been filed, according to the union president. 

She also announced that the union intends to call a strike vote on all of them. 

These matters includes a one year contract, that she said, the government is trying to impose on union members illegally, the removal of the interns housing and housing allowance, the refusal of payment to union members at the Department of Health and the practice of firing doctors when they complain of their personal data being released.

She said, “If you do not want to meet at the table, we will use the legal means afforded to us to resolve those matters.”

Union members filled the BCPOU Hall yesterday and were joined by an overwhelming number of union heads who stood with them in solidarity. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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