State Minister in the Ministry of Finance Fayval Williams and JTA President Georgia Waugh Richards
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has called an emergency conciliation meeting between the Jamaica Teacher's Association, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
This is in response to reports of industrial action by government paid teachers island wide.
The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13, 2018, commencing at 2:00 p.m., at the Ministry's 1F North Street Head Office in Kingston.
Earlier, the ministries of Finance and Education admitted that they are unclear of the main reason for the teachers' protest.
Speaking on TVJ's Smile Jamaica Tuesday morning, State Minister in the Ministry of Finance Fayval Williams, said there are two issues which could be the cause of contention. These are "the issue of the communication around the payment for this year that would have passed, and then you have the issue of a request for an increase in the allowance," she said.
However, she said there has been no formal communication from the Jamaica Teachers Association.
With regards to the request for an increase in the allowance, Ms Williams said the government has already made it clear that "we cannot do it" because "if we do it for the teachers, we would have to do it for all the public sector (and) that's an impossible task."
JTA President Georgia Waugh Richards, who spoke with RJR News later on Tuesday sought to clarify the teachers' discontent.
She stated that while there is a freeze on all allowances, there is one in particular, the Book and Software Allowance, that the teachers would like reconsidered in light of the implementation of the National Standards Curriculum.
She argued that this single allowance would allow teachers to feel some "form of improvement in their earnings."
In addition, Mrs Waugh Richards has reiterated that the teachers are not in agreement with the four-year contract cycle.
"In light of the unpredictability of the rate of inflation, we think it will not be in our interest to tie ourselves into a four year contract period and so we want to continue with the current two year contract period that now obtains," she said.