Teachers ‘cannot guarantee normalcy’ on Wednesday amid unpaid salaries
LaSonja Harrison, JTA President

The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) says it cannot guarantee normalcy in the classroom on Wednesday amid frustration among its members over late payment of March salaries and retroactive sums.

The education ministry, in a statement Tuesday, noted that payment was delayed by a number of days as it worked alongside the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to ensure the accurate processing, converting and uploading of the retroactive amounts and new salary rates. It said some teachers have started to receive payments.

However, the JTA in a news release later in the day described the situation as “blatant disrespect to the nation’s educators”.

“We are aware that some members are in receipt of payments, though questions abound regarding its accuracies, however this is of no comfort to those who have not,” said JTA President LaSonja Harrison.

“In light of this financial malaise, the Government of Jamaica must make provision to offset interest rates to be accrued on teachers’ loans and other credit facilities,” she added.

Harrison said the association is further concerned about the threat of repossession of items and the impact of the current situation on members’ credit ratings; a possible embarrassment looming for teachers.

Against this background, Harrison said the JTA “cannot guarantee normalcy come (Wednesday)”.

“Colleagues, let us stand together paid and unpaid to register our displeasure,” Harrison urged.

“This scant regard for educators cannot continue. Whatever sums are due teachers, small or great, must be accurately calculated and paid in a timely manner to ensure their monthly obligations can be met.”

This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding on March 13 between the JTA and the Government for a revised compensation package, after a bitter wage negotiation.

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