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PNP Women's Movement encourages teachers to be courageous

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The PNP Women's Movement is encouraging teachers who are staging a supposed three-day islandwide sickout to be courageous in their fight for justice and to be strengthened by the fact that they have been, are and will continue to be the source of Jamaica's advancement.

The sickout came on the heels of the Jamaica Teacher's Association (JTA) rejecting the Government's wage increase offer of 16 per cent over four years, declaring that teachers would not accept the one-year retroactive payment to be made this month.

The Women's Movement also called on the Government to reconsider the decision to force a settlement on teachers.

President of the Movement Jennifer Edwards said “the majority of teachers are women, many of them single women who are mothers and care givers of children and parents. On a single income, these women have been faced with the harsh realities of increases in bus fares or gas prices as well as increases in the cost of food and utilities. Many teachers work in constant fear as discipline deteriorates and the environment in which they work and shape the minds of our children becomes less safe.”

She said the action of the Government is disrespectful and shows disdain for workers in the education sector.

“It is not only disrespectful; it is a violation of the International Labour Organisation Convention 98 which Jamaica signed on to many decades ago. What gives this JLP administration the right to make this payment when you have no agreement with the teachers?”

The Women's Movement added that it is of the view that the Government would not have adopted this dictatorial attitude if the majority of teachers were men.

According to Edwards the behaviour of the Government is a glaring example of those who believe that women have little or no rights.

Meanwhile, many parents and students who were yesterday forced to return home extra early after hundreds of teachers islandwide went on the sick-out, say they are in support of the industrial action by the teachers as they deserve better pay.

It was not clear, however, how many of the 23,000 public school teachers participated in the first day of the sick-out, which is likely to worsen today.

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