UTech’s academic staff withdraw strike plans; set to meet with Clarke Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Plans by some academic staff at the University of Technology (UTech) to take industrial action on Monday over issues relative to the Government’s handling of their compensation review, have been shelved.

This was after the University of Technology Academic Staff Union (UTASU) withdrew their 72-hour strike notice on Saturday, due to the union being invited to a meeting with Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, on Sunday.

UTASU had voted to withdraw their services at a special general meeting on Thursday.

The planned industrial action was being triggered by “the extended delays to resolve the critical issues surrounding the compensation review,” a communique from UTASU to its members said.

Public Relations Officer for the UTASU, Dr Tashieka Burris-Melville, had said the union notified UTech’s management that “they will withdraw their services” effective Monday, March 18, 2024.

“The membership (of UTASU) is dissatisfied with the lack of progress regarding the compensation review, and, as a result, they are taking the necessary actions,” she stated in an audio statement late Friday.

“We do hope that the Government will engage us (in) resolving this matter without further delay,” added Burris-Melville.

In January, UTASU, in a statement, said it rejected the Government’s wage offer, citing “profound dissatisfaction” with the then compensation package, and pointed to “misalignment with their contributions, skills, and the prevailing economic conditions.”

Before the threat of industrial action was withdrawn on Saturday, some students at UTech expressed their frustration at the then development on social media.

Some members of the public had also been weighing in on what they claimed was a pattern of industrial action by UTech staff.

“As a student there (UTech), I am frustrated, because they always do this when exams are near. Glad a my last year this,” said a female student on Instagram.

Shared another: “This strike action happening for years and don’t they (the academic staff) see that it results in nothing? Only we the students suffering.”

A male student suggested: “At this point, the students and student council needs to file a lawsuit against the school, cah (because) fi some reason, dem nuh wah pay the ppl (people) dem and a we the students it a affect.”

A woman on Instagram questioned whether the strategy of going on strike by members of the academic union make “sense”, given that there has been no perceived outcomes from such past industrial actions.

“It (the industrial action) happens every time exams are approaching, or at the beginning of the new school year,” she claimed.

“I think it’s time for the university’s administrators to consider exploring alternative strategies, as this repetitive action is becoming tiresome and reflects poorly on the university,” added the Instagram user.