KINGTSON, Jamaica – A group of teachers on Friday voiced their discontent outside the Ministry of Finance in Kingston pointing to the discrepancies in salaries, with one educator asserting that “there will be an exodus of teachers”.
The teachers pointed out that there are many unresolved issues in the compensation review that the Government was yet to iron out.
The teachers shouted in unison messages such as “We teach, we care, so give us our share!”, and “We don’t all want to migrate. But we realise you come to frustrate!”
One educator expressed anger over what he says is the “dishonesty” of the Government during the compensation review process, adding that they are “unfair” to the teachers of Jamaica.
“Why we’re here, we’re very disgruntled by how the Government treats teachers, nation builders of the country. Remember we produce everyone. Teachers have been working for four, five months and haven’t been paid. There is the public sector reform package, and wrong calculation of teachers’ salaries, while some senior teachers cannot be paid for the position. So, I am very disgruntled with how the Government treat teachers,” one man told OBSERVER ONLINE.
On Thursday, president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), La Sonja Harrison, called on educators across the island to support industrial action against the Government for what she describes as “discrepancies and anomalies” following the recent compensation review.
In an audio message, Harrison urged educators to stand together to ensure they are properly compensated, expressing that "one teacher not paid correctly or underpaid affects all of us."
Teachers have been on a two-day strike since Thursday.
Another protestor, who is a basic school principal, said teachers at that level have been “ostracised”.
“I am here, specifically, to speak on that behalf because you have teachers who have been working at the grassroots foundation and they too are being ostracised, pushed down and it’s really sad to look on,” the angry teacher said.
“When you see teachers getting $19,000 for what they call subsidy...but it’s the grim realities of what is happening to many of our basic school teachers,” she added.