Don't take JTA membership lightly, Dixon tells teachers
Outgoing president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Doran Dixon, is urging teachers to register as members of the organisation to safeguard themselves in industrial disputes.
Dixon was speaking during the second session of the first day of the 51st annual conference of the JTA yesterday at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, St James.
"It is always interesting to us inside the office when a teacher gets into trouble and is willing to pay us, in some instances, two years' back dues as compensation so that we can, in fact, address their issues.
"We need to encourage our members that membership is not something that you should take lightly, because if it (problems) can happen, it will happen, and when it does happen and you are not a member, you are going to be on your own," Dixon said.
Dixon said there were some teachers who had relocated temporarily to other schools without following the appropriate protocols, and returned to their previous schools thereafter, only to find out that their posts were no longer available.
"The process is critical. You cannot just walk out of your school and say you are relocated, regardless of where you go and who love you. The process is: There is a form that must be signed by the six signatories on that form," he warned. "Any missing signature means that you are not properly relocated, and relocated means that, technically, it's temporary and you can go back to where you are coming from. But if you left without telling anybody you were leaving, then you can't come back ... ."
Dixon cited a recent example where a teacher relocated without the requisite documents being signed by the principal or board chairman of the 'sending school', or the JTA.
"The principal of the sending school did not know where the teacher was for eight months and then, one day, at the end of the eight months, the teacher turned up an' say, 'Mi deh yah'. And di principal say, 'Which part yuh did deh?'" Dixon said.
"We specifically said to the Ministry (of Education), 'We need to be involved in the process of relocation - and it helps to protect you. We have had instances where persons turn up at a receiving school and the receiving school say to dem: 'Weh oonu a go? I know not of you!'" he quipped.
He added: "The form must be signed by the teacher, the Ministry of Education regional officer or his/her designate, the principal of the sending school, the board chairman of the sending school, the principal of the receiving school, the board chairman of the receiving school, and the JTA regional representative - usually the regional officer. If that form does not contain all of those, you put yourself into trouble," he said.