Following months of deliberations, the island’s teachers have accepted the Government’s four-year wage offer.
The new Heads of Agreement for the 2017 to 2021 contract period was signed between the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and the Government during a ceremony at the National Heroe Circle offices of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, on Wednesday (May 16).
Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said the Government values the nation’s teachers and the role they play in the society.
“The teachers of Jamaica represent a foundation in our society. We have all been influenced by teachers who have played crucial roles in our own individual lives, and we wouldn’t be where we are without our teachers,” he said.
Dr. Clarke said he is pleased that an agreement was reached that all involved were comfortable with.
President of the JTA, Georgia Waugh Richards, said she is pleased that all parties have come to an agreement after a tough negotiating process.
“We had brought the offer to the teachers of Jamaica, and we all agreed that the four-year contract period would hold, but there are other items of fringe benefits that had seen improvements, and based on that, the teachers decided that it was now time to accept,” she said.
She noted however, that she could not disclose the new package until the nation’s teachers were first briefed on the final agreement.
“We have listened to the voices of the teachers of Jamaica and we have acted according to their wishes, and so we look forward to future collaborations and discussions as they relate to the well-being of the teachers of Jamaica,” she said.
In the meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dean-Roy Bernard, said he is pleased with the outcome of the negotiations.
“We have done very well in negotiating on behalf of the welfare of our beloved almost 25,000 teachers, and this is a signal moment and we are happy to be part of it,” he said.
The teachers have agreed to wage increases over the agreed period of five per cent in the first year; two and four per cent in the second and third years, respectively; and five per cent in the final year.