school bursars want more pay
It has been nine years since the Bursars Association of Jamaica (BAJ) has been waiting for the Ministry of Finance to complete a reclassification exercise of school bursars.
The bursars say they have lobbied the Ministry of Education for assistance with expediting the process, but have been treated with scant disregard.
Portia Holness, immediate past president of the BAJ, is concerned that the ministry seems to accord little or no priority to the plight of the bursars.
"The Ministry of Education kept referring us to the Ministry of Finance ... . Ultimately, all decisions are made by the Ministry of Finance, we understand. The Ministry of Education does not assign salaries, but at the end of the day, what we expect, as employees to the Ministry of Education, is that they would have been ensuring that this process goes through on our behalf, but what we found is that each time we went there, it was as if it was placed on the back burner," she said.
The BAJ said it sought to engage the finance ministry directly, but was told that discussions cannot proceed without the involvement of the education ministry.
"We were basically in limbo, and we weren't sure who exactly to hold accountable and who exactly was really pursuing the completion of this exercise on our behalf," Holness said.
NEED MORE SUPPORT
She also lamented that bursars do not get enough support from the Ministry of Education and are not appreciated for the magnitude of work they do.
Holness contends that a bursar does at least six jobs, given that they have to monitor canteens and tuck shops, and sometimes play the role of plant managers, and operations managers, while being the manager of the school's purse.
There are approximately 350 bursars in the public-school system, who earn between $780,000 and $1.3 million per annum.
"We are doing all of this work, and sometimes bursars are hardly able to pay their bills ... . We do not get the type of support [we need] from the Ministry of Education, and we are always on demand ... . Yet when it comes to compensation for the job that you are doing, it is never there. It is never seen as important," Holness said.