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Thwaites to face militant teachers today

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ROSE HALL, St James — Education Minister Ronald Thwaites is today expected to address a group of disgruntled teachers who yesterday flatly rejected the Government's salary package offer for the 2010/2012 contract period.

It was not clear, however, what was the offer made to the teachers and the level of increase being sought.

"Based on my gauging of the sentiments of conference, the teachers are highly dissatisfied with this offer at this time," the newly elected president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) Clayton Hall said.

"The conference at this time does not see this as advancing their economic viability, especially within this time of economic hardships," he added.

Hall dismissed a claim that teachers were planning to interrupt the start of the new school year next month if there was no resolution to the salary issue.

"I am not quite sure where the idea of disruption came from, because you would recognise that teachers are the last persons to disrupt the education system because we are cognisant of the importance of what it is we do. Therefore, we are not considering any disruption at all to the education system," Hall said.

"... But we are seeking the benevolence of our employers to recognise that we operate under very trying economic times and we would like to get some breathing space to ensure that we can survive," said the new JTA boss.

He was speaking to reporters yesterday following the closing session of day two of the three-day 48th annual JTA conference, underway at the Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Rose Hall, St James.

According to Hall, JTA delegates would have to determine how to proceed with the negotiations.

"The president cannot determine where we go next, that will be a decision of conference and we are still hoping that prior to the ending of this conference we will receive subsequent consideration that will be beneficial to all parties involved. As soon as the matter is put to conference we will determine what our next move will be on this matter," Hall said.

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