The Government of The Bahamas, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, signed a new Industrial Agreement with the Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU), providing sweeping benefits for thousands of nurses in the health care system. The agreement was signed during a ceremony in the Ministry of Health and Wellness conference room on Thursday, August 11, 2022.
Present were the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness; the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, Minister of State for the Public Service; Bernard Evans, chief labor consultant and negotiator for the government; BNU President Amancha Williams, trade union leaders, and other officials.
Minister Darville praised BNU President Williams on the agreement, and nurses across the country for their dedication to the health care profession. He said he received many calls in the midst of negotiations, urging the government to resolve the outstanding issues and enter into the new agreement. The last agreement was signed in 2020.
“I thank God that we have a prime minister who is compassionate enough and who is willing to listen to workers in this country and put the resources in the places that they need to be,” Minister Darville said.
The new agreement, which will last for three years, was negotiated in less than three months. Among the benefits, new nurses will see a starting salary of $26,000, up from $22,000; and eventually $30,000. Other benefits are to include a retention bonus of over $3,000, death benefit at some $100,000, a new disaster and pandemic benefit of $10 per hour, among other provisions to include mileage.
The BNU agreement comes on the heels of industrial agreements the government recently signed with the Bahamas Educators Managers Union, and the Bahamas Educators, Counselors and Allied Workers Union. The Minister of State for the Public Service noted that the government would sign several more industrial agreements in the coming weeks. A separate agreement is being worked out for the nurses who fall under the Public Hospitals Authority, confirmed BNU President Williams.
“We are very pleased that the MOU brought us to the table,” she said, referring to the memorandum of understanding signed between the Progressive Liberal Party and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas (NCTUB) ahead of the September 2021 general election.
“We thank the prime minister and his team for acknowledging this,” Williams said. “I’m not saying it was an easy journey, but we worked together and made sure it happened. We thank God for that MOU and the minister being understanding.”
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