Dental assistants withdraw service
More than 100 dental assistants across Jamaica's four health regions have withdrawn their services today as they protest the none-payment of a four per cent salary increase that was due to them, along with other allowances.
General secretary for the Union of Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (UTASP), St Patrice Ennis, said the workers have not been given the salary increase for the 2019 to 2020 period, while their uniform allowance has been outstanding from as far back as 2018.
They are also hoping to collect a $30,000 lump sum payment that was promised to them under the Committee Labour agreement.
“There has been a back and forth between the dental assistants and the various regions and the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance; so when you check with the Ministry of Finance, they say they have allocated the money already, when you check with the Ministry of Health, they are back and forth and the region, some don’t know anything about it,” said Ennis.
He added: “I think the group has been patient for a very long time and this is a time when everybody that I am aware of is struggling and each worker is having difficulties. These are monies that they have signed to in a collective labour agreement,” he lamented.
The union boss said no one has been able to give a definitive response as to when the dental assistants will be able to collect the money owed.
He pointed out that they are prepared to continue their strike tomorrow given this reality.
“I don’t think anybody in their right mind can just allow their salary increase to just go like that. This affects not only their pension, but it affects other allowances and this affects people qualifying for certain loans and mortgage and so on,” Ennis said.
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