Current Affairs

Current Affairs




JTA salary agreement close
Jamaica Gleaner
published: Monday | April 7, 2003

By Erica James-King, Staff Reporter

THE WRANGLINGS between the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) and the Government could soon be at an end, as the District Associations of the JTA islandwide and the executive of that teachers' union are to meet separately this week, to decide on whether to accept Government's latest salary offer.

By the middle of the week, Government officials are to make available to the JTA the complete document on its latest proposal, and this will then be discussed within the 76 District Associations.

Meanwhile, a final decision on behalf of the nation's over 20,000 teachers will be taken on April 12, at a Special Conference of delegates called by the JTA.

"We (the JTA) are to get the final document from Government on Wednesday. After that, discussions are to take place at the District Association level," Dr. Adolph Cameron, general secretary of the JTA, told The Gleaner.

Persons near to the talks are optimistic about the offer, as it comes following the end of a realignment study for the profession, aimed at making teachers salaries 80 per cent of market rate.

"The results of the realignment initiative will be discussed," said Dr. Cameron. "The recommendations of the consultant contracted to determine the adjustment to the compensation of teachers effective October 1, 2003 based on a realignment of positions package is to form part of the latest salary proposal from Government."

The study of factors to affect the realignment exercise came to an end on March 31.

Noting that he is happy that the teachers' salary dispute did not have to be settled at the level of the Ministry of Labour, Dr. Cameron is hopeful that the protracted wage negotiations will be settled shortly.

In February, the JTA membership staged a two-day strike, rejecting Government's three per cent wage offer.

Among the proposals by the ministries of Finance and Education, which the teachers found objectionable at that time, were:

The proposed increase on basic pay of three per cent in year one and in year two.

The refusal by Government to give motor vehicle duty concessions to teachers who have given over 10 years of service to the profession.

No go-ahead by the authorities on transport allowance to be given to all teachers.

Government has not supported the call by the teachers for parcels of land to be set aside in each parish for housing solutions for those professionals.

The ministries of Finance and Education have also not backed calls by the JTA for housing allowance to be made to those teachers who are not currently benefiting from that provision.

Reports reaching The Gleaner are that the new salary increases being proposed for teachers could range between 15 per cent and 35 per cent increase.