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Teachers want a raise

Salaseini Moceiwai
Monday, May 05, 2014

THE Fiji Teachers Union (FTU) is calling on the Public Service Commission (PSC) to pay serving teachers their graduate salaries upon the completion of their degree programs.

Union president Muniappa Goundar, at the recent FTU annual general meeting in Labasa, said they continued to remind PSC and would not stop fighting for a just pay. His call follows that of the Fijian Teachers Association last week.

"The union has reminded the PSC that it is unfair, unjust and unethical not to pay serving teachers their graduate salaries upon the completion of their degree studies," he said.

"We have been fighting for this move and we will continue to do so. We hope the PSC will reconsider its position and pay the teachers their just salaries when they complete their programs."

Mr Goundar said the AGM last year noted it was unfortunate the PSC directed the Education Ministry to exclude the union from Central Staff Board meetings.

"The union is there to assist the ministry in selecting the most meritorious candidate for the vacant positions.

"In many instances, the union was able to furnish the ministry with correct information regarding the candidates."

Responding to questions sent by this newspaper, PSC permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said they were not aware of the matter, adding the issues could be raised with the permanent secretary for Education who had the powers under the 2013 Constitution.

"The PSC Circulars 12-2012, 66-2012 and 68-2012 state that the minimum qualification of the post is a recognised university degree with relevant teaching subjects or equivalent and teacher training," Mr Chand said.

"This is a base level post, thus teachers will be paid the minimum of the salary scale. Currently, teachers appointed at this level are paid the minimum of the ED8G salary scale."

When asked whether there were plans to pay teachers according to their qualifications, Mr Chand referred the question to the Education Ministry.

For the Central Staff Board, Mr Chand said these were internal mechanisms to scrutinise staffing and related matters in respective ministries and departments.

"It is principally and procedurally inappropriate to have unions sit in internally-appointed staff boards."

Education Ministry PS Dr Brij Lal said there were regulations in place to pay teachers accordingly.

"When a teacher graduates and if they produce their certificates to us, we pay them according to their qualifications," he said.

"There are regulations in place that covers this and we have been following this whenever we recruit teachers."

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