x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Interns get to celebrate their pay day at long last

Dozens of medical and dental interns thrilled to finally be paid for the past five months' work.

Dozens of medical and dental interns were thrilled yesterday to finally be paid for the past five months' work.

"We were all shocked, we could not believe it, after all this waiting," said one. "We were so happy, all congratulating each other."

As recently as Wednesday, they had lost all hope that, after nine months without pay, they would receive any benefits from the Ministry of Health - despite promises from the minister himself.

On May 2, the ministry had announced that the more than 80 interns, mostly working in the Northern Emirates, would be paid Dh11,000 a month, half the salary of a newly qualified doctor.

But June came and the interns were told of no new developments in their case. The minister had told the Federal National Council, which adopted the interns' cause, that they would definitely be paid, but administrative problems held up payment.

A message on Twitter on Tuesday from Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, indicated that the Ministry of Finance had been told to solve the problem.

But the interns were dismayed on Wednesday when they still had no pay.

A second intern added: "A few hours later, in the late afternoon, we all received texts from the ministry asking us to come to sign the contracts and receive out pay cheques the next morning."

From 11am until 3pm yesterday, the interns were taken in to sign new contracts and receive their cheques.

The second intern said the whole process took only 30 minutes. "From getting to the ministry to signing to receiving everything, it took no time," she said. "Everyone's papers were ready."

She said the whole HR department had worked with the interns to get the paperwork finished.

The interns used their Twitter page to thank Sheikh Mansour and the leaders of the UAE for helping them in their case.

osalem@thenational.ae