KINGSTON, March 13, 2018 - The Emergency conciliation meeting called by the Ministry of Labour, in an effort to settle the dispute between the government and the island teachers, fell through this afternoon, as the JTA was unable to mobilize its negotiating team from across the country at short notice, in time for the meeting.
The JTA is proposing to meet at the Labour Ministry at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, when the parties comprising the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) and the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Education try to work out a solution to the teacher's dilemma.
In light of the developments, industrial action by teachers could continue on Wednesday resulting in the continued closure of schools.
Despite instructions from the Minister of Education that all public schools should open on Tuesday, several remained closed due to the industrial action by teachers.
In a statement on Monday, the Ministry of Education said it would deploy additional personnel to support schools.
However, fewer students were sent out by their parents on Tuesday.
The meeting was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today at the Ministry of Labour, 1F North Street in Kingston, and should have brought to the table, the Jamaica Teacher's Association, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
The proverbial straw which broke the camel's back, was the decision by the Ministry of Finance to begin paying teachers despite the fact that the teachers had rejected the government's 4 year pay offer among other things.
JTA President Georgia Waugh Richards, reiterated that the teachers are not in agreement with the four-year contract cycle. They made their discontent known to the Ministry of Finance which declined to respond to their letter and to invite them back to the bargining table.
She stated that while there is a freeze on all allowances, there is one in particular, the Book and Software Allowance, that the teachers would like reconsidered in light of the implementation of the National Standards Curriculum.
She argued that this single allowance would allow teachers to feel some "form of improvement in their earnings."
"In light of the unpredictability of the rate of inflation, we think it will not be in our interest to tie ourselves into a four year contract period and so we want to continue with the current two year contract period that now obtains," she said.
Earlier, the ministries of Finance and Education admitted that they are unclear of the main reason for the teachers' protest.
Last modified onTuesday, 13 March 2018 20:09
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