March 14, 2023 | By Colin O. Jarrett |
Under the watchful eyes of Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke and other government officials, the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA), President-Elect Leighton Johnson signed the latest public sector wage deal for a new 12-month Heads of Agreement to accept the Government’s offer of a 4% wage increase for the financial period April 2021 to March 2022 while the President La-Sonja Harrison was nowhere in sight.
Mrs Harrison left the signing ceremony without inking the deal stating that the agreement was not what she expected. Many have questioned how effective she will be during her 4-5 months left in office. Some are quietly calling for her resignation as she failed to sign the agreement although more than 70% of the teachers voted in favour of the agreement.
Dr Clarke said he was pleased to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU with the JTA representatives, noting that “this paves the way for approximately $11.8 billion retroactive payments to be processed for our teachers”.
Reports reaching Vision Newspaper on March 12 are that 803 delegates of the 25-thousand strong JTA voted, with 629 voting to accept the offer and 147 voting to reject it. There was one abstention.
This agreement comes after teachers rejected the Government’s previous wage offer under the compensation restructuring review last week, accompanied by staged sick-outs for four days, After much discussion between the labour ministry and JTA delegates, teachers were urged to return to work.