JAMAICA-Teachers reject latest government offer


Public sector teachers have rejected the latest offer from the Jamaica government and have mandated their union, the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) to seek a better offer.

A JTA statement said that the special general council meeting on Monday to discuss the latest wage offer teachers, which it did not disclose, had also mandated the JTA to communicate the decision of the teachers to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

“As we are all aware the government made a new offer to the Jamaica Teachers Association on Friday last. There was a special general council meeting…where this new offer was placed on the table. The offer was put to a vote and the majority voted to reject the current offer.

“Our next move therefore will be that the association will write formally to the Ministry of Finance to inform them of the teachers’ latest position,’ said JTA president Georgia Waugh Richards.

Asked if teachers are willing to wait until the 2019/2020 fiscal year for the retroactive payments if an agreement is not reached for funds to be paid this month, she replied “it’s not a dialogue that we’ve had to say ‘yes’ they said to me they are willing to wait until that time.

“But the fact that they have rejected, I’m sure they know what they are rejecting,” she added.

The Andrew Holness government originally offered a six per cent salary increase for the 2017-2018 period and despite the teachers rejecting the offer, the government said it was going ahead to make the payments at the end of this month.

The JTA had accused the government of engaging in “union busting” strategies and insisted it “has not agreed to any such payment plan.

The public school teachers have rejected a 16 per cent wage increase from the government over a four-year-period amid speculation that they could embark upon island wide industrial action in support of their demands.

The teachers are asking that instead of a four-year agreement, the authorities revert to two years and in addition, they want the special allowance of protective clothing be increased to $20,000 per annum, up from the current J$18,504 (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents).

They also want teachers to be paid J$2,500 to mark research papers and J$2,000 per student for supervising teaching practice. The government has already rejected both demands.

Last week, the teachers staged a three-day strike in support of their demands.

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