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Bahamas: Doctors Vote In Favour Of Obtaining Strike Certificate

MORE than seventy senior doctors in the public healthcare system voted on Friday to obtain a strike certificate, a move that illustrates that union members are willing to withdraw services if the Public Hospitals Authority does not meet their requests.

Dr Locksley Munroe, Consultant Physician Staff Association (CPSA) president, held a press conference on Friday evening immediately following the vote.

He revealed that 96 per cent of members who voted were in favour of obtaining the strike certificate. Dr Munroe noted that meetings will be held later this month with the Department of Labour and the PHA to determine whether physicians will have to take the “ultimate step” of withdrawing services.

Despite this outcome, Dr Munroe said CPSA’s Wednesday meeting with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis went “pretty well”, stating that the meeting and the vote results are “not necessarily connected”.

“Today, the 5th of October, we took on a poll to decide whether or not we would obtain a strike certificate,” Dr Munroe said. “And that need arose because of the manner in which negotiations between our group and the PHA were progressing.”

Dr Munroe said despite over two years of negations with the PHA, “proper, respectful progress” was not being made. Because of this, CPSA’s legal counsel advised the union of the steps that would be necessary “if (it) wished to be heard by the PHA”.

“And this is another step in that direction,” Dr Munroe continued. “Withdrawal of service is a legal right, a constitutional right that we have as employees and therefore we have taken the steps that are necessary.”

Dr Munroe said that of the 78 people who voted, 75 voted ‘yes’.

“There are 110 persons in this group and 71 per cent of persons actually voted. And of those who voted, 96 per cent said ‘yes, we are willing to withdraw services if our negotiation does not progress in the manner in which it ought to’.

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