P.H.A Sets Record Straight on BPSU Negotiations

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The Public Hospitals Authority has been made aware of comments attributed to the Bahamas Public Services Union’s President, Mr. Kimsley Ferguson published in a recent article in the local dailies which speaks to the current negotiation status between the PHA and the BPSU for a new BPSU Industrial Agreement. The PHA and the BPSU both agreed to strict confidentiality concerning the matters being discussed between both parties. To-date, the PHA has maintained
this position but finds it disappointing that the BPSU has not.

While the PHA will continue to honor the confidentiality of our mutual discussions, we feel it necessary to speak to the BPSU’s statement that the negotiation meetings are being continuously postponed and that as a result negotiation on a counter proposal have stalled for almost ten
weeks. The PHA categorically denies these claims. At the onset of negotiations, both parties agreed to specific conditions to ensure a proper, cordial engagement over the term of the negotiation period, including a separation of negotiations into non-financial and financial matters. The non-financial teams were scheduled to meet twice per month, every other Friday. While a first meeting of the non-financial team was held on November 23rd, 2018, it was agreed by both parties that formal meetings would begin in earnest on January 11th, owing to the busy holiday season.

Commencing with the January 11th meeting, there were a total of twelve negotiation meetings held, some of which were held on dates other than originally agreed due to scheduling conflicts by both parties. Our records reflect that one meeting was cancelled due to a no-show
by the BPSU, while four other dates were postponed by mutual agreement. There were no instances where the PHA acted alone and cancelled any negotiation meeting. The final non- financial meeting took place on July 30th, 2019. The financial teams agreed to continue the twice per month schedule adopted by the non-financial teams, with our first meeting scheduled for August 9th. Regrettably, the PHA requested a deferment of that meeting in order to allow members of the PHA’s financial team to attend another function in support of a senior official of the PHA, a key participant in the financial negotiation meetings.

While a deferment was requested, the PHA offered to either extend the next two scheduled meetings by an additional hour or to meet twice in one week to make up for the deferred meeting.

The PHA remains committed to the negotiation process with the BPSU and other stakeholder groups as we recognize the importance of negotiations and collaborative agreement to ensure that our employee benefits are maximized within the financial constraints of the PHA.

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