Teachers could take action in September, says JTA head

NEGRIL, Hanover – President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) Leighton Johnson has warned that public school educators may take action, after the organisation’s next gathering in September, if concerns about anomalies in their salaries are not addressed.

However, he said efforts would be made to avoid disruptions to the start of the school term.

“I can indicate that, having written letters, there is a particular course of action that teachers are prepared to take,” he said. “If we get no resolution by the time we have our next general council meeting then the teachers will follow a particular course.”

He was fielding questions from journalists on Tuesday from the sidelines of the JTA’s annual conference.

Johnson declined to provide details on what precise steps would be taken as the JTA follows its “particular process”.

“We have options and, at the appropriate time, we will activate our machinery to ensure that the Government responds,” said the JTA head who noted that members of the 25,000-strong organisation are restive and determined to have their concerns addressed.

Among the issues they want dealt with is what Johnson said is fluctuation, since March, in income tax paid by some educators on the new salaries hammered out in the Government’s compensation review.

“Teachers want a resolution to these issues. We have written and we will continue to write. The Jamaica Teachers’ Association will leave no stone unturned; we are ensuring that every process is adhered to and followed,” he stated.

At the same time, he has signalled a change in how the association will seek to have issues of concern aired in the public domain.

“In many respects, the teachers’ business has been at the forefront and the subject of much criticism and conversations. I believe it is time now for us to coalesce around this common cause behind closed doors and carry out the mandates of the teachers in a manner that will not disclose to the public our direction,” said the JTA president.