Teachers, Jamaica must now live within means
THE EDITOR, Sir:
THE PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Teachers' Association has been most vocal, insisting that a trade union should not be asked to agree to a wage freeze. He is adamant that teachers should not be worse off as a result of negotiations.
All of us who enjoy current benefits in this society have been able to do this because government policies over the decades allowed us to live beyond our means. The current standard of living of teachers and others are premised upon deferred debt repayment. This world has become a harsher place for nations with such policies. We live in the same world as Greece and other European countries which are being forced to bring their standard of living in line with what their national economies can afford.
The position taken by the president of the teachers' union is not unlike that of the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand. This society will not move forward economically without first realigning itself to be in sync with what it can afford. We should no longer postpone the day of reckoning by continuing to defer repayment to a future generation.
Putting it quite starkly, our standard of living must be cut. What the minister of finance needs to do is to make sure that no segment of the society is immune to the cut, and that this burden is shared as equitably as possible.
Cedric B. Harold