LETTER: Unions & Salary increases for government workers


Dear Editor,

Getting a job within the government services is seen as primarily a social service.

At the moment the government employs about 9,000 persons more than are needed. And it does not matter which government – ABLP or UPP..

The system is the same.

The Private Sector is moribund and is only interested in a quick turn over. Most of the local businesses are so badly managed that it is a surprise that they are even surviving.

So the government has to step in and give jobs.

Notice I have used the word jobs twice because the majority of government employees do little or no work and offer poor if any service.

Now to the teachers. They should receive increases based on performance and not across the board.

How many of the top 100 students in the Grade Six National Assessment Exams, CXC & CSEC exams, are from government schools?

Maybe 5 or 10%. So why are these government employed teachers being rewarded?

Let us reward those who deliver the goods and not those who just go through the paces quite indifferently.

Teaching is a vocation, not just a job.

It is high time we change the way things are done in this country and we get serious and professional and take politics out of everything.

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    • I have to disagree with everything said. According to the writer, both the public and private sector are badly managed so what’s the point in complaining about the public sector then? The writer asserts with no evidence that the majority of public sector workers do nothing all day and give bad service. On occasion, I have been to a Ministry etc. where a worker was not engaged in productive work at that point, but my personal experience is that 90% of the time, people get their work done and are quite pleasant and helpful, certainly not any less helpful than in the private sector. The writer suggests that increases should be performance-based. That presupposes that workers are paid a living wage to begin with. People should first be paid enough to cover the basics of life before you can start evaluating their performance. That also presumes that persons are capable of doing their best work while lacking funds for necessities. The author would end up rewarding those who already have additional outside funding since they would be the ones able to perform at their best.

  1. Thank you for your input however I must point out that your reasoning is flawed.
    Let’s say a private school has 100 students and all these students do well, there are several factors that contribute to this, not just the school.
    The aptitude for learning
    The environment that the child lives
    The involvement of parents
    Are what I consider to be the primary factors apart from the skills of the teacher.
    Now let’s say that private school has a pass mark of 80%. All of these factors will harmonize to maintain that 80%. The teachers will teach, the students with try to learn, if they have difficulty the parents will enroll them in extra classes and make sure that the home environment is better suited for learning.
    Now segway to a public school where teachers teach but parents show little to no interest, the children have low aptitudes (for one reason or the other), some don’t even speak English, no home environment to speak of and there is no money for extra classes. The results from these schools would obviously be different. There are many students in the public system with learning disabilities, emotional challenges or are completely uninterested in learning. Some that can’t read nor write yet I have seen teachers provide meals for students for 1st form to 5th not requesting compensation of any kind. I have seen teachers extend SBA deadlines and go to student’s homes to assist and collect the SBA’s yet get no recognition for their efforts. I have seen teachers tell students to answer questions in their native languages and they struggle to translate or find someone to translate so that they can get the best possible grade yet again nothing for these teachers. I would dare any of you who have the nerve to say that teachers aren’t teaching to teach for 1 term and then see if you feel the same way. Walk a mile in their shoes before you say the journey is easy. I agree there are some bad teachers, there are some teachers that have given up but that isn’t all the teachers so don’t lump them all together

    • Please don’t forget that when these students fail in the private system they a put into the government system and unlike the private schools we can not refuse them so they become apart of our failing system. Private schools ensure that their grades are not tarnished by students who struggle. They remove them from their system when they cannot live up to the expectations of the school and then they are placed in our system to make us look bad. Then we are expected to work a miracle with these children who have been failing from kindergarten to as far as grade 5. Then we in the public system take the blame because we have no ther choice.

  2. Just my 2 cents. A teacher’s capability is limited to the interest the parent(s) invest in their child.
    Parents are to reinforce what was ta

  3. The writer of this article is making some very valid points about too many governmental employees, although he seems to be targeting the teaching profession, which I don’t think is fair.

    Has he never been down to the tax office?

    When you enter, there’s 2-3 people asking you why you are there, then someone else will pop upstairs to get your files/records or transaction document(s).

    And it gets worse!

    Then you line up for another 2-3 people to administer your document, then another person to take your payment, and finally someone else to stamp your receipted payment. Phew!

    Half a dozen people to the job of one … now that’s Public Sector wastage!

    My private business wouldn’t last two twos if I adopted these same said practices.

  4. Politicians salaries should reflect their performance too. So right now Gaston should be in the deficit.

  5. From your reasoning, the government steps in because private business are poorly managed and moribund. What you neglected to say here, is that the government, instead of bloating the public sector, has the option of attracting reputable investors into our country. This in turn will lead to the creation of jobs outside of the public sector. I am not going to make this political, but exactly what has ALP done to attract business here in the last 8 years?
    Now, writer of this article, have you ever been a teacher? I ask because you seem to neglect the fact that every profession that exist today, owe their beginnings to some teacher. Teachers are grossly underpaid and overworked, all over the world, and this should never be. Banks in Antigua and Barbuda almost laugh at at teacher applying for some financial assistance of note. Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany said it best to a professional who questioned a teachers salary: How can I pay you more that the person that taught you.
    A teachers salary should be adequate to maintain a decent standard of living considering the role they play in society.
    No question, the public sector abounds with excess and lazy employees, but that is the responsibility of the person in charge to ensure that everyone pulls their weight.

  6. All I have to say here is the M.O.E. has put tools in place to appraise teachers but these tools are of no significance. One such tool is the appraisal form. I can say that it is being utilized in some schools but what happens after it reaches the M.O. E. It is placed on file. So, a teacher who is chronically late, absent, produces no plans etc. gets to continue the journey with pay while the principals lap their tails and can not do anything. Me blame the MINISTRY OF EDUCATION for implementing policies which they DO NOT follow through. There are teachers at a particular public primary school who REFUSE to write a lesson plan which is a part of their job description. The principal talk and talk and talk and what? I wonder if the Education Officer for this school is aware of this negligence.

    • @Teacher Teacher, While I understand your concerns, the main responsibility of a teacher is to teach the students something. Whether they do it with an official lesson plan on paper or not as long as the students learn who cares? In the old days there was no such thing as a written lesson plan. All of that paperwork to please bureaucrats sometimes just takes time away from actually helping the students. The persons in charge have to use a variety of criteria to evaluate performance. So, its good that they are capable of weighing all factors. A teacher could put everything down on paper and still not execute it in a way that leads to learning. If the teacher without the written plan is getting better results than the one with the plan are you really going to reward the one who does everything by the book? Sometimes teachers submit plans and then things randomly change, no resources etc. Teachers also have to be creative and adapt, not just blindly follow theories that don’t always work in the context in which they have to operate daily. I know of persons who were always late because they were involved in a lot of community service elsewhere. It’s not your job to evaluate your coworkers. Perhaps management knows details about their life that you are not privvy to.

    • @Teacher Teacher What are those forms going to solve? And after the Ministry gets rid of teachers for little things like that then who is going to teach the pupils? There are never enough teachers in the system. So, the Principal talks and talks? To whom? To everyone altogether? Does the Principal take the time to speak directly to the persons not submitting the plans to find out why not? What do they need? Communication and attempting to understand and solve the problem should be done first before writing people up behind their backs, which will just make matters worse. It is better for an organisation to treat employees like human beings and develop and improve the talent that is on hand and fix problems with the system rather than treat employees as if they are disposable. If attempts are not made to understand why persons don’t comply, new persons, if they can be found, are just going to come along and do the same thing because the system was never fixed.

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