Wed | Apr 24, 2019

Letter of the Day | JTA unreasonable in wage standoff

Published:Saturday | March 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM


A sickness, which apparently has not been medically diagnosed, has befallen some public school teachers. Conveniently, it occurred following the breakdown of wage negotiations between the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) and the Government.

The absence of so many teachers from classrooms for the better part of three days could not have come at a worse time, when students are preparing for their exams.

Clearly, the teachers' 'sickness' was brought on by the inadequate 16 per cent increase over four years that the Government is adamant it cannot make a better offer on, as well as the retroactive payments for the 2017 period which is expected to be paid out that the teachers are opposing.

Georgia Waugh Richards, the JTA president, in insisting that the teachers were not on strike but that they were sick, was grossly disingenuous and her assertions are an insult to reasonable people. She should be ashamed of herself for making such a lame excuse.

While we can appreciate that the Government forcing a rejected deal on the teachers is tantamount to disrespect and, indeed, would breach the collective bargaining process, the JTA is being unreasonable and should exercise patience and understanding.

The Government says that it cannot do better at this time and that if it were to yield to the teachers' demand, it would have to raise the taxes, which would derail the economy. Now what good would that do any of us?

We should get rid of the non-productive teachers who are only interested in collecting a salary at the expense of our children who are suffering. A performance-based pay initiative and greater supervision should be employed if we want to see greater efficiency.