KINGSTON, Jamaica - President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), La Sonja Harrison, is calling 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."
"Several teachers have been negatively impacted by the implementation of the restructuring exercise also known as the compensation review. Many anomalies came to light from the initial payments made in March 2023. The JTA has brought same to the attention of our employers from the get-go. Official communication was first sent to Minister (Nigel) Clarke on April 18, 2023, requesting establishment of a technical committee to treat with anomalies and discrepancies. To date, no response," she said, highlighting that teachers hoped issues would have been sorted and that their April salaries would reflect such.
According to Harrison, teachers who have already been paid for this month (May) have indicated that salary issues remain unresolved.
She has therefore called on educators to voice their displeasure through industrial action.
Teachers are expected to be on a two-day strike as of Thursday.
"This continued disrespect, and regard for us as teachers is unacceptable. We must arise and register our displeasure. To make a bad situation worse, those who have received their salaries this month confirm are confirming that anomalies/discrepancies are yet to be fixed. Colleagues it is time to act," she said.
She noted that teachers of Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, Kingston, St Andrew and St Thomas will register their displeasure via industrial action on May 25 (Thursday) and May 26 (Friday).
Teachers in Hanover, St James, Trelawny, St Ann, St Mary and Portland will take industrial strike action May 29 and 30. The entire island takes further industrial strike action May 31 and June 1.
“We are professionals and the government needs to respond to us in like manner. All we ask is our fair due. Pay our teachers that which they agreed to. Establish the technical committee to treat with anomalies," Harrison stated.
The JTA says it remains resolute in its call to get the government's attention. The Association was the only union present on Monday at what was advertised as a joint press conference of unions to state their position on the Government's compensation review.
Representatives of the Jamaica Police Federation and the National Workers Union of Jamaica, who were invited to join the JTA at its headquarters on Church Street in downtown Kingston, did not show up.
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