Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Teachers must insist on reasonable salary hike

Published:Saturday | May 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM


This week is being celebrated as Education Week under the theme 'Consolidating the Gains, Collaborating for Growth and Sustainability'. Amid it all, the teachers face a dilemma. There will be no gains, growth or sustainability if our teachers are treated shabbily by Government. Since the last five years of frozen wages, the standard of living for public-sector workers, and particularly teachers, has fallen to an all-time low. Teachers have become poorer with the passage of time.

Negotiations are on in earnest between the Government and teachers, and while many of us are holding our breath, I am deeply distressed over the percentage of increase that has been offered to us. This proposed rise in salary will certainly not allow the teachers to consolidate any gains made in the education sector nor encourage them to collaborate to grow and sustain the sector.

Teachers are hungry, and as a result they are angry with the Government for even suggesting that they cannot offer us more than five per cent over a two-year period. The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), which has often found itself in bed with the Government, has already rejected the offer. We will see if this is just a mere show or whether the JTA and the Government will enter into any expedient deal unknown to teachers.

The Government must be prepared to give something better. Teachers are traumatised by the many things they have to put up with in the classrooms.