Minister for Education, Doctor Mahendra Reddy’s statement [Fiji Live 6/6/17] that “teachers are happy now because their salaries have been raised” is grossly misleading. The Minister is further reported saying that “he has not received any complaints of teachers being paid less than what they should be.” The last increase in salaries for the entire Civil Service was before the 2014 National Elections. As a consequence of this, the entry point salaries were pegged at $16,610.00 for Certificate holders, $18,056.00 for Diploma, $21,438.00 for Degree without teacher training and $23,411.00 Degree with Teacher Training.
The Union categorically states that there has been no salary increase for teachers. In fact, a Job Evaluation Exercise is underway to address the salary issue of the Civil Servants. For the Minister to say that teachers have received salary increase whilst the Review is still in process, in undermining the work of the Civil Service Ministry and the Consultants.
The Union has written and raised issues regarding teachers’ salaries on numerous occasions with the Ministry of Education.
In 2015, all new recruits, who were trained teachers, were put on a $12,360.00 salary. This was corrected after the Union raised the issue at different levels. This was corrected at the beginning of 2016.
However, the 2016 recruits were all lumped together at the Certificate level salary of $16,610.00.
No other sectors of the Civil Service ever had the entry point salary reduced, unheard of anywhere else. Ministry of Education, we believe, could win a place in the Guiness Book of Records!
The Union raised its concern again as the Diploma Salary was $18,056.00 and Graduate Salary was $21,438.00.
In 2017, the Ministry recruited teachers who have completed their Programmes but are yet to officially graduate. These teachers are put on a salary of $12,360.00.
They are doing full time teaching and they are performing the duties in the school like any other teacher and yet are paid a much reduced salary. The Ministry is in breach of ERP 2007 Part 9 Section 74 [b] “ensuring equal rates of remuneration for work of equal value for all workers.”
The Union has filed a Dispute with the Ministry of Labour seeking redress for the above.
There has been no rise in teachers’ salary [except for some kindergarten teachers many months ago]. How can the teachers be happy when they are overworked and underpaid?
Agni Deo Singh, General Secretary , Fiji Teachers Union.