WATCH: Dental assistants protest delay in salary upgrade
Dental assistants protesting salary upgrade outside the office of Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke at Heroes Circle in Kingston on Wednesday. (Photo: Llewellyn Wynter)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Fed-up dental assistants protested outside the Ministry of Finance in Kingston on Wednesday over delays in their salary upgrade payments.

The dental assistants converged outside Dr Nigel Clarke’s ministry at Heroes Circle, chanting that he was “hiding” money from them.

“Nigel, where are you? Nigel, where are you? Nigel hiding our money from us,” they sang.

President of the Union of Technical Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (UTASP), St Patrice Ennis, said the dental assistants and the finance ministry signed off on the compensation package in February. Ennis said they were promised that by March, the new compensation package would be reflected.

However, the group said that up to Wednesday, they have not received the amount which was agreed upon.

“We are here today to protest the non-payment of our salary because we had signed on to the compensation review exercise on the 10th of February and it was promised that we would have received such payment this month (March). We have received our pay advisory slip and payment has been made which did not include, in any form or shape, the compensation review,” Ennis told OBSERVER ONLINE.

He added that as a result of the non-payment, the dental assistants have been embarrassed as commitments made could not be met.

“As a consequence, people have made commitments given the obligations of loans to repay and all sorts of commitments. So they are embarrassed today, and that is why we are here protesting the non-payment of the compensation review,” the UTASP president said.

On Tuesday, as Minister Clarke closed the 2023/2024 Budget Debate at Gordon House, he announced that 95 per cent of public sector employees have accepted the Government’s wage offer ahead of the March 31 deadline.

READ: Clarke thanks public sector workers as 95 per cent accept wage offer

Dental assistants were not among the holdout groups and are protesting for the first time since the compensation review began.

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