At the height of lingering unrest among some of the island’s nurses, the umbrella body representing the island’s trade unions, the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) on Thursday defended the Barbados Nurses’ Association (BNA) representation of nurses across the health sector.
CTUSAB’s General Secretary Dennis De Peiza voiced his support for the BNA in a statement, even as close to 100 nurses represented by the Unity Workers’ Union (UWU) marched in protest to vent their dissatisfaction with Government’s failure to remedy long standing grievances.
The nurses have been demanding better working conditions and increased pay, health insurance, improved nurse-to-patient ratios, remuneration for degrees and continuous training.
The BNA, which represents more than 500 of the over 1,200 active nurses in the public health system, has stayed clear of the industrial action, insisting that a strike is not the way to resolve the issues, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Peiza, who has also raised concerns about the UWU’s stance, pointed to a list of achievements by the BNA to improve the plight of nurses,
He noted that for the period 2020-2021, the BNA has been making a case for a pay increase and the hiring of additional nurses.
“To the credit of the BNA, it has had the matter of sporadic payment of the salaries of nurses partially addressed, and secured the issuance of confirmation letters of appointment for 180 nurses by the People Resourcing Directorate of the Ministry of the Public Service,” he said.
De Peiza also highlighted that the BNA’s efforts have resulted in the payment of outstanding increments to nurses who upgraded their qualifications and discussions are continuing to resolve the issue of the accreditation of qualifications for promotion eligibility to Senior Nursing Management at the Psychiatric Hospital, a matter which was under discussion since 2018. (SD)