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Teachers willing to fight pension reform

KINGSTON — The Jamaica Teachers’ Association says it is willing to go to the Privy Council to challenge the government’s proposed public sector pension reform.

Newly-installed president, Clayton Hall, says the JTA is convinced the changes proposed by the government in a green paper tabled in parliament are illegal.

The Attorney General’s chambers had released an opinion stating that the proposed changes were a breach of contract and unconstitutional.

But that opinion was later withdrawn by the Attorney General, Patrick Atkinson, who said it was flawed and given without his knowledge.

Atkinson later told the parliament that he saw no legal obstacle to the government going ahead with the proposed reforms.

But making his inaugural address last night at the JTA’s annual conference in Montego Bay, St. James, Hall said the association was convinced the original opinion was correct.

Public sector pension reform is one of the measures the International Monetary Fund has been insisting that Jamaica implement since last year, and is crucial to a new agreement with the Fund.

But the JTA has consistently argued that teachers retiring under the reformed pension system would experience a reduced standard of living because they would receive less than 40 per cent of what obtains under the current system. (Gleaner)

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