Teachers concerned about delay in salary negotiations
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
JAMAICA TEACHERS' Association (JTA) president Doran Dixon has said members of the teachers' union are concerned over the delay by the Ministry of Finance in beginning new salary negotiations.
"We are getting more than a little concerned about the failure of the Ministry of Finance to begin wage negotiations with the Jamaica Teachers' Association, specifically, and the public sector, generally," Dixon told The Gleaner.
Dixon warned that teachers will not tolerate any extension of the wage freeze in any form, arguing that, if negotiations are not settled by April 1, it, would mean that teachers would in effect continue to be paid salaries under the IMF-stipulated wage constraints.
"April 1 is critical to the continued good industrial relations climate. We do not want the wage freeze to be extended under any guise, so we urge the minister to get the process started," Dixon stated.
"Government literally put pressure on us, urging unions to submit claims early so negotiations could start early. We submitted our claims in December, so we are urging the minister to get the process started."
Public-sector workers have been forced to endure years of wage restraint under terms dictated by the Government's agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
During the last round of salary negotiations, the JTA was the last union to sign on to the Government's wage restraint proposal, after previously saying it was not in support of a wage freeze.
Dixon on Friday reiterated the JTA's position on the matter, saying the union expects a new salary package to be in place by April 1.