“Situation is unacceptable” Still no COLA payment for teachers

POSTED: 11/18/13 1:10 PM

St. Maarten – “The Board of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) has received information from reliable sources that no teachers or members of the non-teaching staff employed at the government subsidized schools have received the payment of their COLA 2011,” said WITU President Claire Elshot in a press release yesterday.

“While all the teachers and non-teaching staff of public education were able to access this payment at least 2 to 3 days prior to the promised date, which was November 15, WITU is getting the impression that school boards are still struggling to get their figures together to claim the monies from government to be able to pay their personnel,” Elshot continued.

“Clarity was also being sought on issues like which fiscal year would be used for the calculation of the lump sum payment and what would be the formula of calculations and the deductions to be made from this in terms of social premiums and taxes.

“The WITU strongly feels that this is very unfortunate and unfair to our members employed at the school boards, since this information should have been requested or shared in a timely fashion from government to school boards and back.

“WITU doesn’t have a clue either regretfully, when their members would be paid since this information was not shared by the school boards or the government.

“This situation is unacceptable and WITU is therefore calling on all school boards to provide this information and the payment of the COLA 2011 to all members of teaching and non-teaching staff by Tuesday, November 19,” Elshot warned.

“In addition, a lot of questions are being raised by members and retired members, as to whom are entitled to these payments since there are members, who have been employed in 2011 and 2012 and are now not on the payrolls of 2013.  WITU from information gathered, it is the understanding that only members on the payroll of 2013 will be compensated. Persons, who are not on the payroll but were working in 2011, need to request the COLA payment in the form of a letter to the minister and these cases will be handled separately.

“The calculations would then be: gross salary x 12 x 2.3% minus social premiums and taxes.  In the case of persons working part of the year the calculations would be times the amount of months instead of 12,” Elshot pointed out.

“WITU will continue to strive within a newly established Petite Committee to demand and negotiate for the way forward on the remaining 50% of 2011, 2012, 2013… cost of living adjustment will be put in a Collective Labor Agreement and to be budgeted in future budgets. This is to guarantee that the purchasing power of our members is being secured,” Elshot concluded in her statement.


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