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JTA, Ministry to resume monthly meetings after weeks of protest

Published:Monday | July 1, 2013 | 2:27 PM

The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) is to resume its monthly meetings with the Education Ministry next Tuesday, almost seven weeks after suspending the talks in protest over changes to the leave entitlement system.



The JTA’s Central Executive suspended meetings with the Ministry on May 21 and embarked on a series of parish consultations with teachers.



On May 15, Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites announced a suspension of the granting of study leave along with changes to sick and vacation leave entitlements on grounds that they are too expensive.



Those announcements triggered fiery responses from the top leadership of the teachers’ union, resulting in a short-lived expulsion of a candidate from contesting a presidential poll.



JTA president, Clayton Hall, says the union’s official position on the education minister’s announcement will be presented to the Ministry next week.



He says discussions will also be held on other outstanding matters.



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.



The position of the Education Ministry appeared to have softened following news from Permanent Secretary Elaine Foster Allen, that 143 applications for full time study leave have been approved for the upcoming new Academic year.



A date is still to be set for a meeting between the Public Service Ministry and the JTA.



The Public Service ministry had intervened after the teachers’ union said changes to entitlements would negatively impact a wage freeze agreement critical to Jamaica’s programme with the International Monetary Fund.



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