‘Find the Money!’ Phillips Presses Govt to Make Teachers Better Wage Offer

Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, is this afternoon insisting the government find the money to make a better wage offer to the Jamaica Teacher’s Association, JTA.

This contradicts his own position just over two years ago that the then Simpson-Miller administration, of which he was the Finance Minister, couldn’t afford to pay the teachers what they wanted.

At that time he offered the teachers 7-percent over two years or 3.5-percent per annum. The Holness Administration is now offering the teachers an average of 4-percent-per-annum over 4 years. The teachers have rejected the Holness administration’s offer.

However, they accepted the smaller offer of 3.5-percent per annum from the Simpson-Miller administration back in 2015.

The 11-member strong Confederation of Trade Unions, the Jamaica Civil Service Association and the Jamaica Medical Doctors’ Association have agreed to accept the 16-percent offer over 4 years.

In a statement today, Dr. Phillips reversed his position of June 2015. He supported the industrial action taken by the JTA and made the case for a better wage offer to the nation’s teachers.

Dr. Phillips also today criticized Finance Minister Audley Shaw for saying the administration will have to either borrow more money or impose a tax package if a better offer is to be made to the JTA.

This is contrary to the position the then Finance Minister, Dr. Phillips, took in June 2015, when his administration offered a 7-percent increase to public sector workers over two years.

Then, Phillips addressed the nation and said his administration cannot afford to make a better offer because it would jeopardize the well-being of the entire the country.

During that 2015 address – Dr. Phillips described calls for a better offer to public sector workers as shortsighted and politically expedient.

He also declared it would be a long time before the country is in a position to give a major increase to public sector workers.

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