Letters to the Editor

Freeze teachers' wages if good sense can't prevail soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Months ago I warned that, as a country, we should brace ourselves for some trade unions, federations and associations like the Jamaica Teachers' Association to play politics with the upcoming wage negotiations, thus making senseless demands and drawing out the process for no logical cause but because they are not in favour of the governing party.

Now we are here!

Strangely enough, the teachers, who are mostly a set of non-performing individuals, are the main ones giving the finance minister problems. How ironic? Non-performers demanding better pay. There's no other interpretation; student results reflect teachers.

If the People's National Party (PNP) were in government we would not have the constant rejection of wage offers because birds of a feather flock together.

Truth be told, the teachers, like other public sector workers, got and accepted two consecutive wage freezes then a seven per cent increase in total from the PNP over three wage negotiation cycles. There was quiet all round and no talk of union busting or otherwise.

With the apparent enemy in office now, teachers seem to be at war with themselves after being offered 16 per cent for four years, which is more than they are used to. We cannot forget that these same ungrateful individuals collected the Jamaica Labour Party's much-touted tax refund of up to $18,000 monthly for most of them over the last year or so. So, in essence, their real salary increase is way higher in dollar value than when their beloved non-performers ruled.

I have an idea for the Government to soothe the sorrows of teachers and others. I'm proposing a timeline be given for each union to accept wage increases, and if it is not taken up by then that union, association or federation ought to be given a wage freeze for this wage period.

Old dogs don't learn new tricks, they are not accustomed to getting better wages so stop wasting time with them.

In some cases, talking is a waste of breath; and where there's no proper reasoning, common sense or leadership for bargaining groups, maybe the Government should instil it. The politics is too overwhelming during wage negotiations, so rein it in.

I know criticisms will come, but who cares? They criticised Dr Nigel Clarke recently, Dr Norman Dunn earlier, and Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Look where they are now compared to their critics?

J Edwards





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