WITU President Stuart Johnson.
~ Laptops should be delivered soon ~
PHILIPSBURG--The board of Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) submitted a proposal to government for an adjustment to the salary scales of employees in Education.
“The fight continues to ensure education is truly prioritised in our Country as teachers should be respected and not be neglected,” stated Stuart Johnson President of WITU on Tuesday.
Johnson submitted the proposal addressed to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs on Friday, February 24. Before the submission of the proposal to the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Johnson presented it during a Committee for Civil Servants Unions (CCSU) meeting last week.
The proposal of WITU states, “Educators form the foundation of civilization. They serve as mentors for young people, provide direction and commitment, and empower them via education. Teachers enable nations to further their social and economic development. While they are frequently praised as heroes deserving of acclaim, teachers are not adequately recognised in St. Maarten.”
In addition, it stated that teachers should be recognised for their hard work and be promoted for their years of service considering several points listed by the union.
WITU noted that teachers function house has very little to no real room for mobility due to the limited functions; the majority of teachers enter the education labour market around an average age of 22/23, the current salary scale structure has not been revised for more than a decade.
WITU said the current salary scale was created during a time that teachers could go on pension at age 60, after 30 years in the system on a full pension or on VUT (Early pension). As of 2020, the old age pension is no longer added on top of the accumulated teachers’ pension. Since 2010, the pension age has increased from 60 to 62, and then to 65.
Further noted was that the opportunity to go on pension after 30 years with your full pension is no longer afforded to teachers. Teachers on average remain 35-45 years in the education system, considering that in 2008 it was agreed for teachers to be able to move horizontally, yet this is not being applied. The WITU said it encourages its members as much as possible to continue to educate themselves and apply for new functions when vacant.
WITU proposed to add up to 10 extra “trede” to the current government salary scale that is used for teachers and to allow persons who have reached their max in their current scale to move one additional “trede” every two years after receiving consecutive positive evaluations (or no evaluation).
“I received and deeply appreciate the unanimous support of the entire CCSU as this proposal serves as a major motivation for educators. Furthermore, I trust the full support of the government will be granted for the sake of prioritising education,” said Johnson.
He also followed up on the promised laptops by the Ministry of Education by stating, “I hope the promised digital devices will be distributed shortly enabling teachers to function more efficiently.”
“There are simply too many concerns within education, I have repeatedly requested that WITU be actively involved at all times enabling proactive decisions to be taken and not reactive,” Johnson concluded.