Teachers reject latest pay offer

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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THE Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) said yesterday its members had rejected the latest offer from the Government to resolve the current dispute over increased salaries.

A release from the JTA said that the teachers have mandated the leadership to communicate their decision to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and to seek a better offer.

It was reported yesterday that 88 members of the JTA's general council took part in the poll, and 48 voted against the proposal.

However, the JTA's Information and Communications Officer Leon Nash insisted that the association had not released any such information.

Nash refused to confirm or deny the figures and also refused to state how many teachers are members of the JTA's general council which took the decision against the Government's offer yesterday.

However, an audio clip attached to the release had JTA President Georgia Waugh Richards confirming that the offer had been rejected and the executive advised to inform the ministry of the rejection to seek an increased offer.

Minister of state in the Ministry of Finance and Planning Rudyard Spencer told the House of Representatives last Wednesday that the teachers have asked for an increase of $60,000 per annum in their book and software allowance. However, he said that if this is granted, it would cost the Government $1.7 billion more.

“While we acknowledge the need for more resources for the teachers, there simply is no more room to absorb any further increase at this time, given the imperative to get to nine per cent wage to GDP,” Spencer told the House.

“We are asking our teachers to exercise patience and tolerance of the Government's current position as we work to build a stronger, more robust and resilient economy.

This would allow us to provide more in the future.

The teachers staged a three-day 'sick-out' last week in protest against the wage offer as well as Government's decision to pay them back pay based on an agreement with other trade unions.

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