WITU considering general membership meeting in response to compensation

POSTED: 02/5/15 6:41 PM

St. Maarten -The Board of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) is planning a general membership meeting to discuss a number of issues such as the salary scales structure and some other deductions that the school boards are demanding from the teachers. President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union Claire Elshot said that the new demands on the teachers are based on article 24 of the LMA which regulates the teacher’s salaries and scales.

She explained that with the salary structure, the teachers were to be moved up in either scale A or B and move up in what was described as steps, so as to follow a career line. She also pointed out that since the structure had changed there was no interest by the powers that be to ensure that the teachers were placed in the proper position in the scale.

This has created some problems since there is no compensation in the cost of living adjustments since 2012 and as a result there is no mobility for the teachers. “If the teachers had continued in the scale there would have been something to be used as a bargaining chip,” said Elshot. The union leader said that she cannot determine “where this is coming from since this was not discussed in the GOA meeting.”

She believes that if this is the trend that government is setting, the union is left with have no other alternative but to convene a general membership meeting to discuss these issues “because June is close and then government will want to deal with the vacation allowance and the other fringe benefits. Already we are not receiving any Christmas bonus and if we want to get a Christmas bonus we have to make the contributions from January where it is put aside,” she said.

Elshot agrees with the Member of Parliament of St. Maarten who suggested streamlining the budget by cutting the salaries of Parliamentarians and ending benefits like first class travel. Elshot contends that the Parliamentarians work is not enough to warrant the salaries that they are receiving.  She believes that whatever the reduction there is in the budget it “should not be on the backs of the teachers or the civil servants.

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