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Five per cent, no way – militant JTA boss

Published:Friday | April 10, 2015 | 12:00 AMBarrington Flemming


DORAN DIXON, president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), has said the island's teachers are now in a militant mood and will be rejecting the Government's proposed five per cent increase in wage and fringe benefits.

"While we would do nothing at the JTA to distract from the visit of the president of the United States, we know when he is leaving and after he is gone, it is not going to business as usual, if five per cent stays at five per cent," declared Dixon, while bringing greetings at the opening session of the JTA three-day Education Conference at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa.

"We cannot allow ourselves to be taken for granted ...," added Dixon in a no-nonsense manner.


the wage issue


The conference, which is being staged under the theme, 'Reaching Every Leaner Understanding the Brain: New Insights on Learning and Brain Development', is expected to be dominated by the wage issue.

"Five per cent not going to work ... we have waited, we have sacrificed, we were committed to the cause, and we feel that is not a part of a full reward because there is statement out there that says we can't expect to get everything that we did not get in that five years of wage freeze in this settlement," said Dixon.

"We are not naive, we understand, but five per cent is not going to work."

Dixon said while the teachers had no intention of upsetting Jamaica's economic programme, they do not want to be put on any guilt trip about not being patriotic, as they have been for the last five years.

"We have no intention of putting in jeopardy Jamaica's economic programme, and we do not want anybody to put us on this guilt trip about if you don't, then you are not being patriotic," said Dixon.

"... We expect that those with the ability to do so will demonstrate some patriotism to public-sector workers who would have demonstrated it before and give us a fair offer."

Dixon further stated that while the teachers have been resilient over the last five years, they were now in need of an injection.

"We now need an injection of some life-supporting medicine - the bitter medicine must stop at some point. We now need a little sweetness in the medicine, or you will kill the patient," argued Dixon.

"We don't make any empty promises. If you do not treat us properly and come to the table, then things cannot be business as usual ... Look at the gate; it says, 'Beware!'.