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Retired Phosphate Mines Company workers protest insurance policy

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Over 600 retirees from the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company protest in front of the company›s administration building on Monday. (Photos: Dana Al-Zyadat/Jordan News)
AMMAN — More than 600 retirees from the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company protested in front of the company’s administration building in the Shmeisani area on Monday morning. اضافة اعلان

Qasim Al-Khatib, a representative of the group, said: “When the retirees were at work, money was being deducted from their salaries for their post-retirement insurance. Now the company replaced workers with contractors so they can take advantage of insurance by creating incentives influencing employees to retire. The company succeeded, and now 2,800 retirees are benefiting from insurance alongside their families.” 

Khatib added that those retired pay JD347 annually to the fund as an annual subscription for insurance and 20 percent of any medical services an insured person receives.

However, recently the retirees noticed that doctors, medical laboratories, and pharmacies accredited by the insurance had been rapidly declining.

He noted a deficit in the company of around JD8.5 million since 2014, which is a “cumulative deficit” that the company is trying to make up for by decreasing services available to those retired.

Jihad Abu-Ghazaleh, 65, a retiree from the Phosphate Mining Company, said: “Administrative corruption was rampant in the company.”

Ghazaleh, a retiree, said that he has had first-hand experience with the corruption in the company. In 2002, he had renal colic, which was treated medically without the need for an overnight stay. He shared that the bill amounted to JD17 for the treatment. 

Later, Ghazaleh also went to the dentist and bought medicine after his checkup, and his bill amounted to JD24. Ghazaleh added that after these two incidents, he claimed he was called in by a health committee in the company that told him that his two visits accumulated to JD17,000 for the renal colic and JD240 for his dentist visit. 

“I told them that they were adding zeros to the value and that the medical service I received was simple and already paid. They were embarrassed after that and asked me to leave without requiring I pay,” he said.

The protestors demanded that retired employees be represented in accordance with the internal health insurance system of the Phosphate Mines Company, so that they can be informed of the input and output of the health insurance fund.

They also demanded that the deficit in the company be dealt with without any financial liability being placed on the retirees.

In addition, their demands included no increase in the annual insurance subscription fee for retirees and a return of all pharmacies and doctors whose accreditation in the plan was canceled a month and a half ago throughout the Kingdom.

They also asked that 249 retirees that were kicked out of the insurance fund due to their inability to pay the annual fee be placed back on insurance.

The protesters also asked for an amendment to Article 16 of the health insurance system, currently in force since 2000, which states that if there is any deficit in the insurance fund, it will be covered by the employee or retiree without the company bearing any financial burden.

The protesters carried slogans such as “No prejudice to retiree’s rights to health insurance” and “Retirees Committee is the legitimate representative to demand our rights.”

This sit-in began yesterday and escalated today. There was a meeting with representatives of the retirees with the company’s CEO, the director of human resources, and the financial director. 

No agreement was reached, and the retirees said that they held a sit-in to reflect their anger. 

Jordan News attempted to reach out to the company multiple times but received no response.

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