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St. Maarten union wants recalculation of recent Cost of Living Adjustment payment


~ Some paid too much, others not at all ~

PHILIPSBURG–There seems to be a lot of confusion over the recent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) payment to teachers of government subsidised schools.

Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) President Claire Elshot said the union has been bombarded with reports from teachers from one school board in particular, who have been told that they have been paid too much and that the additional payment would have to be deducted from their next salary.

Elshot said the teachers indicated that their school board had informed them that some deductions that had to be made to the COLA were not made; hence they were paid too much and the amount that they had received inadvertently would have to be taken back.

Teachers from another school board, Elshot said, complained to the union that there was a disparity in the amount that they were paid when they compared their COLA to that of public school teachers. These teachers said they received less. Elshot said the teachers were baffled as to how they received less than other teachers.

Elshot said the union advised teachers to submit their complaints in writing and the union will ask for clarity on the matter as well as for a recalculation of the COLA. She said these numerous issues reported by teachers warrant a recalculation.

Additionally, Elshot said the union has noticed that teachers who worked in 2012, but did not continue to work in the education system in 2013, as well as those who worked for part of 2013, were not paid their COLA, while persons who started working at the start of the 2013/2014 academic year in August were paid COLA.

Elshot said the unions have been told that the COLA payment was for 2013, but the price index of 2011 was used. Elshot said this is not fair as all persons who worked deserved to be paid their COLA. This issue would be addressed in a letter to General Affairs Minister Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams as well as to Finance Minister Martin Hassink, she noted.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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