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Bahamas: Nurses – It’S Not About The Money

BAHAMAS Nurses Union President Amancha Williams stressed yesterday that her members’ fight against a new shift system was rooted in the protection of their livelihood as scores of nurses marched on the Ministry of Health.

The demonstration began at the General Post Office building shortly after 9.30am yesterday and followed a Tuesday meeting with PHA officials, which Mrs Williams described as positive.

“We all decided to come together and just show the country that we have the best interest,” Ms Williams told ZNS, “the nurses, we have the best interest of the country.

“It’s not about money, the shift change that we want to change or are non compliant to is not conducive for the nurse. We have reviewed the shift change and the shift change is not just about $1.75.”

Under the new shift, nursers working between 6pm and 6am will receive a $1.75 per hour premium in addition to their standard hourly pay.

Mrs Williams continued: “It’s more than that, it’s our livelihood being taken away from us. It is the security of our families being taken away from us. In order for us to function as a nurse, we need time for the mind to become rejuvenated.

“We need this body to be relaxed so we must follow the rules and regulations of taking care of a patient and administering drugs. We must be, first, alert.”

She added: “It’s also about living up to what the law says and we need to stop playing games with the people.”

The PHA announced last week that the four days on/four days off shift will change to a five days on/two days off shift in over a month. The two sides dispute what impact the change will have on the well-being of nurses; and also its legality given that a 2014 agreement on the shift change between the BNU and PHA was not adopted in its 2015 industrial agreement.

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