Winston Smith: Teachers won’t endure government disrespect

Winston Smith Teachers government
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Winston Smith: Teachers won’t endure government disrespect

THE island’s teachers are fuming over non-payment of monies owed to them, and the president of their union, Winston Smith, on Monday issued a warning to the Government that his colleagues will not endure what he termed “disrespect” for much longer.

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Smith, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), could not say how much in total was outstanding but shared that they are owed five to six months of retroactive payments in basic salary from a promised four per cent increase, plus other payments.

“There are teachers who have not received any money for the summer school work they did from last year, and also the fact that teachers have applied for their NHT (National Housing Trust) refund from 2014 and have not gotten a dollar. What happened to the teachers’ money? We are disappointed and we are demanding that the money be paid forthwith, or we cannot guarantee that come the first working day of April that there will be normalcy,” Smith told the Jamaica Observer.

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The nation, he said, will be forced to “stand and look up” if and when the central executive of the JTA is called to an emergency meeting regarding the matter “because this cannot continue”.

According to Smith, teachers have been “bending over backwards” to support education and therefore deserve to be paid what is due to them. He also accused Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke of failing to honour a commitment to pay teachers for conducting summer school.

“I asked the minister if the money would be paid by the end of February and he said no, but by March 31, the end of the financial year. We don’t get paid on March 31, so when he says something like that we were of the view that the money would be ready for our pay day, which was the 25th of this month. The teachers are livid because they have been given basket to carry water. There was a promise,” Smith said.

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He said that even after a recent demonstration by teachers at Innswood High School in St Catherine, the problem has not been resolved.

Teachers livid over monies owed, says JTA  Jamaica Observer

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