MoBay Community College bows

Decides to refund day's pay deducted

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, November 12, 2018

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THE Montego Bay Community College Administration has bowed to pressure from the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) and several staff members, promising to return money “incorrectly” deducted from the latter group's salaries by the end of this month.

In a letter addressed to the staff, dated November 8, 2018, a copy of which the Jamaica Observer obtained, Principal Dr Maureen Nelson said the money will be reflected in the next salary statement issued.

“I am directed to rescind my letter to you informing you of my decision to have a day's pay deducted from your salary. The refund of the deduction will be reflected in your next salary statement. As directed, the matter of your absence will now be referred to the Board of Management for its consideration,” the letter read.

The Observer had reported that staff members would take legal action against the St James institution if the money deducted from their July salaries “without due process being observed” was not refunded.

A letter from the principal then, said that the money was deducted because the group of seven staff members failed to attend a professional development seminar held on July 2, 2018. The Observer has since learnt that a total of 15 staff members were absent, but “only seven were penalised”.

The staff had insisted that the day in question formed part of the summer break and that the seminar should not have been mandatory.

The Observer had obtained documents circulated among Dr Nelson, the staff members and the JTA Regional Officer (West) Clayton Hall about the matter.

Hall, in a response letter to the initial one informing of the salary deduction, insisted that the action was “a breach of all imaginable facets of justice”.

He noted then, that the money was deducted despite the teachers still having vacation leave and without authorisation from the education ministry.

The JTA representative subsequently urged the Ministry of Education to intervene.

When contacted by the Observer, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education Dean-Roy Bernard had said that he had met with the school board and principal and had advised the teachers' JTA representative that the correspondence would be out that week.

Only last month a stand-off ensued between former students and the school administration over a failure to issue degrees.

The Observer had reported that part-time students of the 2013-2017 class, who read for Bachelor of Business Administration degrees and who graduated from the programme in December 2017, were on edge.

The degrees were issued the following week.

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