Philipsburg, Sint Maarten — On Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) submitted a letter addressed to the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs titled, “Discrimination created among the teachers with non-payment of vacation allowance to subsidize school.”
President of the WITU Stuart Johnson stated in his letter, “As President of the WITU, I would like to bring the following to your attention requesting your intervention in this matter to bring equality, peace, and tranquility among the teaching fraternity in our beloved country.
As we stand at the beginning of the new school year 2022-2023, the board of the WITU is deeply concerned about the fact that to date the teaching and non-teaching staff employed at the various Government-subsidized schools boards with the exception of the Protestant Christian Schools (3%), have not received their vacation allowance as yet.”
Johnson continued in his letter stating, “In representing and looking after the best interest of all concerned, WITU held various meetings with the stakeholders to come to a consensus and solution as it pertains the vacation allowance that was paid since June 15th, 2022 to civil servants and employees of the public education.
“Needless to say that this has created a sense of discrimination and lack of equality in the education field to teaching and non-teaching staff.
Even though WITU can empathize with the school boards, the fact is that one school board has paid 3%. Additionally, the remaining school boards can pay the full 6% once they receive the written instruction from the Council of Ministers to conduct this payment opposed to the 12.5% law that is not retracted as yet is creating much labor unrest and demotivation,” Johnson stated.
He added, “A precedence has been set for this payment and although school boards are not to be solely blamed, at the end of it all WITU is the key representative of the teaching and non-teaching staff.”
“Since the school boards are legally accountable for their personnel expenditure, it cannot be that after receiving a letter from the Ministry of Education couple of months ago with a clear semblance of an instruction, now that there is a change of execution of the law that this has not been communicated to one single school board in writing,” Johnson said.
“The Board of the WITU is therefore urgently appealing to you to end this discrimination by whatever form of communication that would bring a solution in this matter,” Johnson concluded.