Thu | Jul 9, 2020

NAJ frowns at Opposition's claim allowances being deducted over new bus system

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Last week the Ministry of Health and Wellness provided five new buses at a cost of more than $57 million to transport nurses to and from work - JIS photo.

The Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ) has described as strange the Opposition’s demand for the government clarify whether health workers’ allowances are being deducted because state buses are now taking home night shift hospital employees.

This afternoon, Opposition Spokesperson on Health Dr Morais Guy said he has received reports from hospitals under the North and South East Regional Health authorities that the allowances of some nurses are being deducted because of the new transport arrangement.

"In fact, at one institution where buses have been provided, these have been parked as staff are not using them for fear of being denied their contracted allowances," said Guy.

But NAJ president Carmen Johnson said she has not had any such reports.

She also said she found the claim curious because nurses would have filed for and received their allowances before the new bus system went into operation last week.

"That can’t be true at present," Johnson said.

She said, too, that during the negotiations for the buses, it was agreed that nurses would retain their travel allowances since the vehicles would not necessarily take them home, but to the safest points.

Last week the Ministry of Health and Wellness provided five new buses at a cost of more than $57 million to transport nurses to and from work.

The two Portland Members of Parliament also loaned two buses to the North East Regional Health Authority.

It followed complaints that some taxi operators were unwilling to carry the nurses because of fear that they were exposed to the coronavirus. 

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