Government-paid pharmacists restive
The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) is warning that operations at public pharmacies could be severely affected come Monday if certain concerns of government-paid pharmacists are not addressed.
The Union says the pharmacists are to be transferred from the various regional health authorities to the National Health Fund (NHF).
But the BITU says the pharmacists have several concerns about the new terms of employment.
Among the grouses outlined by the BITU is that one-year employment contracts are being offered to the pharmacists who were previously permanently employed.
And it says there is now a proposed six-month probation period, although all the pharmacists are fully trained with most of them working in the same positions for several years.
The BITU says as a compromise, the pharmacists are prepared to accept job evaluations.
The pharmacists are also upset that a medical is now being required at the end of the probationary period.
The BITU also says the salaries to be paid under the new arrangement is less than what currently obtains and further widens the gap between public pharmacists and their private sector counterparts.
In addition, the BITU says the pharmacists are now being prohibited from private employment on their own time, despite the negative effect on their income and expenses under the proposed scheme.
The union says the pharmacists want an increase in pay or a special allowance, to help offset the benefits that have been removed.
They also want an immediate withdrawal of the ban on alternative employment during their vacation period.
The BITU says it has outlined these grouses and several others regarding the new arrangements in a letter to health minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson and minister with responsibility for the public service, Horace Dalley.
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