In a concerning development for local academia, the University of Technology (UTech) is experiencing renewed tension as academic staff embark on a strike over a longstanding wage dispute. Students are feeling the impact, with at least one tertiary institution withholding access to fall semester grades. The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona may also face similar disruptions as lecturers there threaten protest action scheduled for January 5.The strike at UTech revolves around a 20-year-old wage dispute, with academic staff withholding student grades as part of their protest. Communication Director at the Jamaica Union of Territory Students (JUTS), Wyo-Mi Hopkins, acknowledges the need for fair compensation but criticizes UTech educators for compromising students’ education.

Dr. Tashieka Burris Melville, Public Relations Officer for the UTech Academic Staff Union (UTASSU), clarifies that the intention is not to deprive students but to address the longstanding neglect of academic staff compensation. Various staff members at UTech express ongoing wage concerns beyond professors, and efforts to consolidate complaints have so far failed. Melville reveals a potential meeting between academic staff and the Finance Ministry, indicating a willingness to negotiate. At UWI Mona, lecturers’ protest threats for January 5 are tied to demands for pay increases, and negotiations remain open. The UWI Mona Guild seeks compromise on issues affecting students, like grades and registration, should staffers proceed with a strike. Wi-Gut, representing over 900 UWI Mona academics, remains open to negotiations, according to its President, Professor Paul Brown.


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