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Staff union rejects UTech's cash flow challenge explanation, threatens further industrial action

Published: Thursday January 9, 2014 | 2:07 pm Comments 0
Protesting staff members at the gates of the University of Technology yesterday. - Patrice Parkinson photo
Protesting staff members at the gates of the University of Technology yesterday. - Patrice Parkinson photo

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:
The staff at the University of Technology (UTech) has rejected as "falsehoods", the university’s explanation for the delay in the processing of salary loans.


Yesterday, staff members gathered at the entrance of the institution to protest what they said was the tardiness of the administration in approving the loans.

The staff union says the delays have resulted in a huge backlog of around 100 unapproved loans.

In response UTech's Associate Vice-president of Advancement, Hector Wheeler, said it has been doing its best to process the loans but encountered cash flow challenges late last year arising from the outstanding tuition fees amounting to $800 million.

However, Christopher Spencer, the president of the University of Technology Academic Staff Union says this cannot be the case as the university reported last year that it had more than $2 billion in reserve.

Spencer says if the salary loan are not honoured, it would be a breach of the wage freeze agreement signed with the Government last year.

He also says the union is not interested in meeting with UTech’s administration as their grouses have been made clear and they must be addressed swiftly to prevent further escalation in industrial action.

However, Wheeler, said he is hopeful that the staff union will take up the invitation to meet as early as possible so that the discussions can begin to resolve the issue.

A committee set up by the Education Ministry is already investigating alleged governance irregularities raised by the staff union last year.

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