Barbados Health Minister ready to talk with nurses on strike

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Bridgetown, Barbados: The Minister of Health & Wellness – Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, is ready to have a talk with the nurses with the motive to end the three weeks-long protests. With this, he noted that discussion could not be held if nurses will continue their strike.

On the matter, the UWU General Secretary, Senator Caswell Franklyn, asserted, “Our nurses are still on strike, and they will remain on sit-down until the administration and the Unity Workers’ Union sit down and come to some form of agreement,” citing that the promises made earlier to the nurses as too vague.

The health minister furthermore informed that in the coming days, numerous quarterly meetings had been arranged with the health ministry and the Barbados Nurses’ Association and monthly meetings between hospital heads, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Geriatric and Psychiatric. Similarly, with the Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Public Health Nurse and Director of Nursing, QEH.

Following the statement, the health minister was asked, “So none are planned with the UWU on their persisting strike? To which he replied that the ministry could not meet if they were striking.

“These are matters, some of them, dating back decades. There are some issues that when we assumed office and I became Minister of Health and Wellness that I recognised as issues. And, since then, we embarked on a programme to try to address as many programmes as we can, & that is why we were able to do some of the things that were being requested by the unions and the nurses,” he added.

Barbados Nurses’ Association further asked the nurses on strike to get back to work, adding most of the issues negotiated by them were shared concerns of the UWU.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Public Workers reaffirmed that it would continue to represent the healthcare workers, including nurses, via a consultative process.