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Cabinet won’t intervene in developing JTA/Education Ministry dispute

Published:Wednesday | May 22, 2013 | 3:03 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

The Cabinet says it will not be intervening, at this time, in the dispute developing between the Jamaica Teachers' Association and the Ministry of Education over proposed changes to the leave entitlement system.

Yesterday, the JTA’s Central Executive voted to suspend monthly meetings with Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites, to register its disapproval over the changes proposed to the vacation and sick leave system.

Thwaites has argued that the current costs for the entitlements are unsustainable and unaffordable.

However, the JTA has argued that the current policy on vacation leave is one of the reasons teachers accepted being paid at 80 per cent of market value.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House this morning, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator Sandrea Falconer, said all efforts are being made to resolve the matter at the ministerial level.

JTA president Clayton Hall, has said the education Minister’s pronouncements have serious implications for the recently signed heads of agreement with the Government.

The agreement is critical to the viability of Jamaica’s loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

The JTA says it will begin parish consultations starting this Friday before resuming meetings with the Minister.

The National Parent Teachers Association of Jamaica is calling for the JTA to reconsider its decision to suspend monthly meetings with the Education Minister Ronald Thwaites.

The teachers' union has also sought the intervention of the minister with responsibility for the public service as the JTA believes any change would be a breach of its wage agreement with the government.

While noting that it understands the concerns of teachers, the National Parent Teachers Association president Everton Hannam says the JTA should seek discussions before taking action.

He says parents are concerned that any disquiet among teachers would affect students especially those who are now sitting examinations.

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