Sun | Jul 5, 2020

JTA head calls for MOE to address appeal delays, pension payments

Published:Thursday | May 28, 2020 | 4:56 PM
Jamaica Teachers’ Association President Owen Speid - File photo

Danae Hyman, Staff Reporter

Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President Owen Speid is urging the Ministry of Education to act swiftly to address delays at the teachers’ appeal tribunal as well as outstanding pension payments.

Speid was addressing an online industrial relations forum held under the theme 'Redefining Rights, Roles, and Responsibilities: A Call to Action'. 

“This theme serves as a timely reminder that we must never lose sight of our core function as a teachers' union and we must work assiduously to extend vigorous representation across the boundaries and instill a pronounced level of mindfulness that while we learn of our roles and responsibilities and undertake to execute them in a more professional manner, we must undertake to protect the rights of our members with our hearts, body, mind and soul.

“Let us remember today, most teachers who are waiting to receive a date to be heard by the teachers’ appeal tribunal for extended periods, in some cases, periods of over three years. We must now seek to get the Ministry of Education to act swiftly or simply just let them free on the account of time spent. Our retired teachers must also be remembered. Let us remember those who are yet to receive their pension payment after months and within years of leaving the system. Let us rally around the cause of getting prompt payment for our retired state men and women who have earnestly set the stage for all of us to follow,” Speid said.

Additionally, the JTA head shared that industrial relations has been at the forefront of the education sector and urged his association to narrow the gaps among the different strata and management structure, with a view to spending less time on settling disputes and more time on constructive work.

His remark came on the heels of jabs from principal of Pembroke Hall High School, Reverend Claude Ellis, who said the JTA boss was reckless, irresponsible and ill-informed and begged for some quality representation from his union.

READ: Wanted: quality representation from JTA

Speid however rubbished the criticisms, calling the principal bitter and argued that Ellis had not moved on from the decision of his school board not to dismiss a JTA-backed teacher at Pembroke Hall who was investigated for allegedly threatening a student.

READ: JTA head hits back at ‘Bitter’ Pembroke Hall principal

In the meantime, attorney-at-law Andre Earle urged teachers to ensure that they select the right representatives on personnel and disciplinary committees at the institutions.

“When you vote, you vote for someone who is going to best represent your position as persons on the personnel committee. You want somebody who is strong because what I have found, in my experience, is that many times you have teacher reps who tend to bow down to and seek to follow the lead blindly, in many instances of the chairman and that is not what your position is,” Earle said. 

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