THE Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) is set to host a special delegates' meeting on Friday to decide on its response to the latest wage offer from the Government to educators.
President of the JTA La Sonja Harrison on Tuesday told the Jamaica Observer that the special delegates' meeting is key for the teachers to decide on a position.
"We have gone around the island and spoken to the teachers in the 14 parishes and the teachers will come on Friday of this week to make a decision as to what they will vote. The delegates of the association will vote as to what it is they are saying to the Government about what is on offer," said Harrison on the margins of Flow Jamaica's connected and protected programme launch.
While she did not point to specific issues facing teachers, she noted that there are several challenges about which the JTA is in dialogue with the Government.
"There are several challenges. There are things we certainly continue to have negotiations and talks with the Government about if it is that we are serious about retention of experienced and quality teachers. If we are serious about the sustenance of an education system, driven by Jamaican educators then our Government really needs to rethink and come again," Harrison added.
Teachers and the Jamaica Constabulary Force are the two major public sector groups for which negotiations under the Government's new compensation scheme have not yet been finalised.
In an interview with the Observer about the wage issue last month, Harrison indicated that teachers were anxious to reach an agreement, but not at all costs.
"We are aware that our members want us to close as soon as possible, but I do believe they equally want us to be diligent and to remain surgical in our approach to ensure that we reduce any, or most, if not all of the anomalies that would certainly not work out to their benefit in the long run. So, while we work with urgency, we are also going to be doing the due diligence and ensure that we take the time that is needed to ensure that the best possible situation is worked out for all teachers," she said.
In December last year the finance ministry paid out $30.4 billion to 60,000 central Government employees in back pay and new salaries that were due under agreements with the various unions, which took effect on April 1.