(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – Teachers protesting the Government’s wage offer of 16 per cent over a four-year period, and who have been off the job since Monday, were called back to the negotiating table, following an emergency meeting at the Ministry of Labour yesterday.
Representatives from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education deliberated in a marathon session in an attempt to forge common ground on the vexing matter.
The teachers have been off the job since Monday, closing down most schools in the process, as they protested the Government’s proposed wage offer.
GOV’T URGES PATIENCE
State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Rudyard Spencer said that the Government is asking the teachers to be patient.
“We are asking our teachers to exercise patience and tolerance of the Government’s current position as we work to build a stronger, more robust and resilient economy. This would allow us to provide more in the future,” said Spencer in a statement sent to media houses.
“We know the hard work that is involved; we know the conditions under which they work. Most of all, we know their value! We truly do. We would love to grant all that our teachers ask, but we must meet the wage-to-GDP ratio of nine per cent as part of our fiscal-responsibility framework,” he stated.
Teachers are asking for an increase of $60,000 per annum in book and software allowance, an amount that would cost $1.7 billion if granted, according to Spencer.