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Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Dwight Nelson, has advised that he will be meeting with the teachers on Tuesday (Oct. 14), to continue discussions surrounding salaries.
“I will be sitting with them to continue the dialogue, to continue the negotiations to seek compromises,” the Senator informed at a post-Cabinet press briefing held at Jamaica House on Wednesday (Oct. 8).
These negotiations, come against the background, of an agreement which was signed in 2006 with teachers and the then Government, to conduct a study of the private sector market, to bring the teachers within 80 per cent of those private sector rates, and to make this effective from April 2007.
In noting the study had been done Senator Nelson said that the cost, in order to effect this market rate, would be in the region of $15 billion. “In a meeting with the teachers, I told the teachers that I could not agree to that figure because it was beyond Government’s ability to pay, and therefore, I would have to seek the guidance and the approval of the Cabinet,” he noted.
He said that Cabinet discussed the matter extensively on Monday, but “demanded further and better particulars from me which I have supplied to Cabinet and they will continue discussions on the matter on Monday (Oct. 13), at the next Cabinet meeting, at which a decision will be made.”
Senator Nelson noted further that once Cabinet makes a decision on the sum of money to be paid, he would then meet with the teachers to determine the methodology of implementing the payment plan.
As it relates to the police salary negotiations, the Minister pointed out that “there are five police groups with whom we negotiate,” and that a settlement has been reached with the Jamaica Constabulary Force JCF, the Island Special Constabulary Force, as well as the District Constables. “We are in the process of settling with the Island Special Constabulary officers (and) the JCF officers…So as far as the police groupings are concerned, we are pretty satisfied with where we are in terms of settlement,” Senator Nelson added.