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JTA backtracks... Now says it will accept retro pay pending outcome of salary talks

Published:Tuesday | March 20, 2018 | 9:41 PM
Waugh Richards ... I accept said payment on behalf of the teachers of Jamaica.

The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) has now told the Finance Ministry that it will accept the five per cent retroactive payment for teachers pending the outcome of their salary negotiations.

This is an about turn by the JTA, which, just over a week ago rejected the proposal by the government.

READ: Teachers will not be paid wage increase this month - JTA

At the time, the JTA called it an attempt at union busting.

IN PHOTO: Ruddy Spencer

The Government through State Minister of Finance Ruddy Spencer has been insisting that teachers will have to wait until 2020 to get the payment retroactive to 2017 if they do not accept it before March 31.

On Monday, the retroactive payment offer was again presented to teachers at a Special General Council Meeting, this time, on the condition that they accept the proposal for a four-year wage cycle and a $20,000 one-off payment.

That was rejected in a vote by teachers, who demanded that the issues be separated.

In a letter to the JTA leadership Tuesday, Finance Minister Audley Shaw sought to clarify that the five per cent retroactive payment would not be tied to any condition.

He said it would be regarded as an advance representing five per cent retroactive to April 1, 2017.

Shaw also reportedly undertook to ensure that negotiations continue in good faith with a view to settling negotiations quickly.

"Against this background, I accept said payment on behalf of the teachers of Jamaica," JTA president Georgia Waugh Richards said in a letter to Shaw.

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