Spencer says gov't cannot afford $60,000 software, book allowance for teachers
Public school teachers are asking for an increase of $60,000 in their book and software allowance in addition to higher base salaries, State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Rudyard Spencer disclosed in Parliament Wednesday afternoon.
Spencer said if the book and software allowance is granted it would see the budget going up by $1.7 billion.
He said while the Government would want to grant a substantially higher increase in allowances, it simply cannot afford it at this time.
The state minister stressed that the Government was focused on meeting the International Monetary Fund-backed nine per cent wage to GDP ratio.
Earlier today, Opposition spokesman on Finance Mark Golding criticised the target saying it seemed arbitrary.
Meanwhile, Spencer said at a conciliatory meeting involving the Labour Ministry today, the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) decided to resume negotiations with the government.
Many public school teachers have been off the job since Monday to press their demands for better wages.
Spencer said it was important to note that only teachers, nurses and the police were yet to sign the wage offer for 16 per cent over four years.