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JTA concerned about victimisation of 'sick' teachers

Published:Friday | April 20, 2018 | 11:38 AM
JTA President Georgia Waugh Richards (centre) fields questions from delegates at the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) Special Conference to consider the government's wage offer to teachers held at Wolmer's Boys School in Kingston on Saturday, March 3, 2018 - File photo.

The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) says its concerned that the Ministry of Education is reportedly collecting information on teachers who participated in the three-day sick-out last month as they pressed their demand for a better wage offer from the government.

Several teachers islandwide stayed out the job with some schools reporting absenteeism of 90 per cent. 

According to the teacher's union, the Ministry is soliciting information from schools as it relates to teachers who were absent from school during March 12-14, 2018.

“the Association is questioning what is the intended purpose of this information in light of the fact that there were some clear understandings arrived at among the parties at the Ministry of Labour on March 14, 2018, including that there would be no victimisation [ of teachers] ” the JTA said.

The association further says it is concern that the education ministry has moved to extend the school year by three days to make up for time lost during the period of the sickout.

Regarding the wage negotiations, the JTA says it has still not reached an agreement with the government.

“ Therefore there will be no increase in basic salary until an agreement is reached. Teachers need to be aware that the salary they will receive as of April 2018 will be the same as they received at the end of March 2018. The 5% payment [in March] was an advance payment on retroactive salary for the period April 2017 to March 2018. There will be no increase until and unless there is an agreement”.

Turning to the issue of pension contributions, the JTA says it is to meet with the Ministry of Finance on the matter.

“members need to be informed that the new Pension Plan for Public Sector Employees, including teachers, will be implemented as of April 1, 2018. The JTA is in discussion with the Ministry of Finance as to its implications for contributions by teachers because the Association had an agreement with the Ministry of Finance that teachers would not commence contributing until they started to receive new and improved salaries”.

As part of public sector reform, teachers are to contribute 5 per cent of their salaries towards their pensions.

The JTA is assuring teachers that it is treating with all matters relating to their welfare.

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