#Thread On learning of a meeting of UTECH Staff this morning, I called UTECH Staff Association (UTASU) President Mr Leo Langley and offered to attend, to address the UTECH staff and field any questions.
UTECH plays an invaluable role in Jamaica and trains tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, leaders, skilled technicians and professionals.
However, recall that UTECH is not a part of the GOJ and UTECH Staff are neither hired nor paid by the GOJ.
The GOJ gives the UTECH a subvention grant annually that UTECH uses to supplement its other income in order to meet its expenses.
The GOJ has no direct say in the expenditure decisions of the UTECH, nor in who or how many persons they hire, nor in their compensation agreements.
Having said that, UTECH Staff have reported to me that for approximately 10 years they have been seeking adjustments in their compensation in keeping with historical adjustments made to the compensation of others in the education sector.
In these matters the usual relationships can be represented as follows:

MOF<->MOE<->UTECH Mgmt<-> UTASU <-> UTECH Staff.

In this chain, there is evidently room for a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding.
On the matter of trying to resolve a longstanding issue I therefore thought this approach to be sub-optimal. To remove any possibility of further misunderstandings I therefore requested the opportunity to address UTECH Staff directly on their own turf.
My first ever meeting with UTASU was at the end of March 2019, after the budget had been laid and presented. They explained the long-standing issue to me. I was moved by their concerns.
As a result of that meeting and another that followed in April, the GOJ increased the subvention to UTECH by $1 billion or 45% in this financial year, 2019/20, through the Supplementary Budget process.
This increased subvention facilitated, for the very FIRST time, UTECH Staff being paid at the adjusted levels they have for so long sought and this was a major breakthrough that I was proud to be associated with.
The issue that remains is that the adjustment would have been effective from a previous period and so this triggers “back pay” owed by UTECH to their staff.
So to be clear, current pay is for the very FIRST time at the adjusted levels UTECH Staff have long sought and the outstanding issue is back pay owed by UTECH.
Many UTECH Staff members expressed the strong preference for the details to remain private and I will respect that and I won’t divulge that information here (but I reserve the right to comment if others do).
Let’s just say we had the opportunity for an open and frank conversation where I was able to provide information directly to UTECH Staff.
This will allow UTECH Staff to consider the communication and dialogue with UTECH Management in the appropriate context.
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