JIS News

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  • Children of public sector teachers are to benefit from a $25 million tertiary grant fund to be established by Government.
  • This is among benefits to the teachers under the new two-year wage agreement for the 2015 to 2017 contract period, which was signed today (Aug. 26), between the Government and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) at Jamaica House.
  • The Prime Minister welcomed the signing of the wage agreement, and commended the teachers for their continued patience and understanding of the government’s economic programme.

Children of public sector teachers are to benefit from a $25 million tertiary grant fund to be established by Government.

This is among benefits to the teachers under the new two-year wage agreement for the 2015 to 2017 contract period, which was signed today (Aug. 26), between the Government and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) at Jamaica House.

The agreement will see the teachers receiving a salary increase of seven per cent for the two-year period; four per cent in year one and three per cent in year two.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, in her remarks at the signing ceremony, said other existing allowances were also increased and these include books, software, duty, special duty, transportation, and protective clothing benefits.

“The professional development fund has been increased and there is also an agreement to identify suitable lands, which the JTA will undertake to develop for its members. There is also agreement for payment of outstanding tuition refund to teachers,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The Prime Minister welcomed the signing of the wage agreement, and commended the teachers for their continued patience and understanding of the government’s economic programme.

For his part, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley, noted that while the negotiations were “very difficult and very gruelling” they were conducted in “good faith.”

“We believe the teachers deserve more, the majority of our teachers are excellent teachers, but this is what the country can afford at this time,” Mr. Dalley said.

The JTA is the latest group to sign on to the Government’s wage offer.  Some two weeks ago, several unions representing civil servants, signed a new two-year wage agreement, under which they will receive a similar seven per cent salary increase.

 

Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon Peter Phillips, said that while the Government wants to pay more, “there are limits to our capacity as a country to meet all the expectations of the teachers and other groups that we are negotiating with.”

“As we make progress on the economic front we are prepared as a country, as an administration, to share the benefits of that progress to the fullest extent possible with those who are working on behalf of the country’s development,” Dr. Phillips said.

He said the ultimate prize for everyone is not to be measured simply in the wage settlements “but in creating the kind of country that can thrive and grow for more employment opportunities.”

For his part, President of the JTA, Norman Allen, pledged on behalf of the teachers “to play our part in the advancement of the cause of education and pray that Jamaica, under God, will continue to prosper and develop into the country we all dream of.”

Others participating in the signing ceremony included Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Elaine Foster Allen; Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Devon Rowe; and Immediate Past President of the JTA, Doran Dixon.