While much of Monday’s industrial relations attention was on the march in Bridgetown against the National Social Responsibility Levy, the organization that represents the interests of the island’s nurses made it clear its plight must not be ignored.
The President of Barbados Nurses Association (BNA) said it too had a number of grievances stemming from the austerity Budget presented by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on May 30.
BNA President Joannah Waterman said in a press statement the measures affected nurses “in an even worse way” than other categories of workers.
“We would never agree with any austerity measures that will impact our members in a bitter way, especially due to the fact that our salaries have never been commensurate with qualifications, level of responsibility, effort, extended roles and therefore, any austerity impacts us in an even worse way than our counterparts, especially our ability to maintain a reasonable standard of living,” Waterman said.
The nurses’ organization, which falls under the umbrella of Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), has been in talks with the Ministry of Health in an effort to have several issues resolved.
Waterman urged staff to allow the association, through CTUSAB, to continue its quest for improved conditions, a pay rise, benefits associated with overtime and night duty, additional nurses and security of posts via appointments.
She said while the major trade unions, with support from the Barbados Private Sector Association, had a right to protest, the BNA would continue to negotiate for a better deal for nurses.
“I cannot address the issue of them going on strike because remember it is their individual democratic right to proceed. However, the Barbados Nurses Association is continuing to sit at the bargaining and negotiations table with CTUSAB as well as the Minister of Health,” she told Barbados TODAY.