Fri | Nov 22, 2019

UTech students awaiting outcome of meeting at MOE

Published:Thursday | October 31, 2019 | 3:20 PM
President of the UTech Students Union, Khalil Hutchinson (left) and Minister with responsibility for Education, Karl Samuda - Ricardo Makyn photo

Students at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) are awaiting the outcome of a meeting involving the administration, the union representing academic staff and the Ministry of Education to discuss the ongoing industrial action which has affected classes.

A group of UTech students staged a demonstration outside the ministry’s Heroes Circle offices today to express their concern that the strike by academic staff may affect their end-of-semester examination.

 

The UTech workers have been off the job since last week Friday.

President of the UTech Students Union, Khalil Hutchinson, told The Gleaner that today’s meeting with Minister with responsibility for Education, Karl Samuda, was somewhat fruitful, but that nothing conclusive was put on the table to end the strike.

“I won’t lie, there has been some progress. I cannot say at this time as discussions are still taking place,” Hutchinson said.

He said he was assured by UTech President Professor Stephen Vasciannie and Samuda that the matter will be resolved today.

The Gleaner understands that a meeting is being held today with representatives of the ministry, UTech and the University of Technology, Jamaica Academic Staff Union.

The core of the strike action by the academic staff is UTech’s failure to pay over outstanding funds in a near-decade-long salary dispute.

Workers received the first tranche of back pay in July and expected payouts to be made in two other phases – October 2019 and April-May 2020.

The Ministry of Finance has since indicated that it is unable to provide any additional funding to make the payments.

This has further upset the workers.

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