Ja teachers warn of class disruptions

Want better fringe benefits

The Jamaica Teachers Association has warned that classes could be disrupted this week if the Government fails to improve on its fringe benefits offer for the island’s public school teachers.

The decision was to be taken at a meeting scheduled for members of JTA yesterday at the association’s head office in Kingston.

Up to late Sunday night, the Government did not present a new offer following the rejection of one more than a week ago.

“We are not giving the Government another ultimatum … we are saying here that the Government can afford it and we have given them time to put the budgetary allocation in place,” JTA president Hopeton Henry, said last night.

The teachers had threatened industrial action for the September 4 reopening of schools, but almost at the last minute decided to give the Government until today to respond to their demands.

Last week, the Government offered the teachers a $20,000 book, resource and technology allowance in year one and $22,000 in year two. However, the offer was rejected by the JTA.

The association is demanding a $24,000 book allowance in the second year.

“We are waiting on the outstanding amount for the second year of the contract that relates to our allowance, it is not a whole lot of money, but at the same time $2,000 means a whole lot to any teacher,” the JTA boss said.

During the annual JTA conference in August, the delegates representing the islands teachers also rejected the Government’s offer of a $7,500 book allowance.

Mr. Henry said the JTA is adamant that it will not settle this issue until the offer is improved as the association has already reduced its claims.

The JTA has settled for a 14-16 per cent salary increase in the first year for principals and vice-principals, with eight per cent in the second year.

For teachers, the increase is between 14 and 22 per cent in the first year and five-eight per cent in the second.

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