Categorized | National News

Doctors Forced to End Strike

Under Section 76 of the Industrial Relations Act, striking doctors are compelled to return to work as Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes announced yesterday that he has referred the Bahamas Doctors Union’s (BDU) dispute to the Industrial Tribunal. 

Minister Foulkes said, “Pursuant to Section 76 of the Industrial Relations Act, I have considered that the strike action taken as a result of the strike certificate issued on the 19th December, 2018 relative to a trade dispute filed on the 25th September, 2018 concerning the issue of the employer’s failure to pay employees’ holiday pay in accordance with the Industrial Agreement and the Employment Act, has affected and threatened the public interest.”

In accordance with the Employment Act, Mr. Foulkes added that all parties have been notified in writing.

The referral of the dispute to the Industrial Tribunal followed the cancelation of a meeting at the Department of Labour geared towards bringing an end to the matter. 

Director of Labour John Pinder said the meeting was called off by BDU President Dr. Melisande Bassett.

“I had a conversation with the president of the doctors union and she indicated that her attorney had advised her that there is some clause in the proposal coming from the prime minister that we were supposed to discuss this morning, as it relates to the holiday pay, if she signs off on that it will become null and void,” Mr. Pinder said.

“So, she didn’t wish to continue the meeting.”

As the junior doctors’ strike continued into sixth day on Monday, the BDU has increased its demands. 

Initially, outstanding holiday pay was at the crux of their grievances, but now the new demands range from increased health insurance to a request for Crown land.

However, Mr. Pinder told The Bahama Journal that he is not aware of those requests.

He said, “I didn’t see the proposal from the prime minister to them. I was supposed to review that this morning before the meeting got started.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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