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Guidance Counsellors want separate Wage Negotiations

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2016 | 1:00 AM

The Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education (JAGCE) has indicated that it is considering separate wage negotiations.

The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) negotiates on behalf of the counsellors, but JAGCE president, Nina Dixon said counsellors have been pushing for separate negotiations.

"Having separate negotiations is the cry of most counsellors. Why is that we have a body of educated persons, who are psychologists in most cases, why is it that we can't go with our own arguments to the Ministry of Finance and negotiate on our own behalf?" she asked in an interview with The Gleaner.

Dixon explained that the call for separate negotiations arose out of a dissatisfaction with agreements reached and benefits that accrue to counsellors.

The JAGCE president contended that some claims negotiated by JTA, on behalf of the counsellors have been mixed up.

"There were some things that were left off in the negotiations for guidance counsellors. I am not pointing fingers, we don't know whose fault it is. Our travelling allowance got mixed up with a special-teacher allowance," she said.

Dixon explained that the travelling allowance and special-teacher allowance were previously paid as separate items, but has since changed. Counsellors are now only paid the special-teacher allowance, a change which has not found favour with them.

"We are travelling officers, we do home visits, we take children to the hospital, we have to come into the communities and do our outreach, so we are more than just a senior teacher, we are travelling officers, so I don't understand why it is that the benefits were mixed up and joined together."

The JTA, last August, inked an agreement with the Government for a two-year period.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com