Teachers seeking 25% increase, $10m for professional development
The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) is asking the Government for a 25 per cent increase in basic wages for the more than 30,000 teachers in the public education system.
The JTA wants the increase to take place over two years with 15 per cent for the 2015/2016 financial year and the remaining 10 per cent for 2016/2017.
The Government is seeking to establish new wage agreements with its workers as a five-year wage freeze comes to an end.
Jovan Johnson reports:
The basic wage increase request is among a 13-point wage claim that the JTA has submitted to the Government.
Negotiations are yet to begin although a meeting was held last month with government negotiators to clarify the claim.
The JTA is also asking for an increase in the protective clothing allowance paid to teachers.
The union wants the current allowance at $15,000 per annum to be increased to $25,000 starting on April 1 and a further increase to $35,000 next April.
Regarding duty allowance, the JTA is requesting that the current $60,000 per annum be increased to $90,000 come April 1 and to $120,000 a year later.
And for transport, the teachers’ union says this allowance should be increased from the $123,000 currently paid to $200,000 as of April 1 this year.
Meanwhile, the JTA has also requested that $10 million be set aside, yearly, for the professional development of teachers.
It has also asked that teachers be compensated for all casual and vacation leave that have not been taken.
The Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), which represents 40,000 other public sector workers has asked for a 30 per cent increase in basic wages.
Both the JCTU and the JTA have indicated that they are anxious for negotiations to start.
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has warned unions to be realistic with their claims, noting that any significant increase will threaten economic reforms under the current programme with the International Monetary Fund.