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Lecturers at UWI take industrial action

Lecturers at UWI take industrial action

Posted  102 Views updated 7 months ago

Students at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, might not have access to their December 2021 final-exam results amid industrial action by hundreds of lecturers. 

This announcement comes in the wake of a vote from more than 800 lecturers at The UWI to go on strike with immediate effect, citing their frustration with the university's failure to settle a remuneration dispute.

The West Indies Group of University Teachers (WIGUT) said that despite efforts to reach an agreement, the campus administration has reportedly not responded favourably to the union since their last meeting on December 20, 2021.

WIGUT is a trade union that represents the rights and interests of academic, senior administrative, and professional workers at the University of the West Indies.

Professor Paul Brown, president of WIGUT Jamaica, told The Gleaner that the impasse has caused academic, senior administrative, and professional staff to take action in order to press for an increase in salaries and benefits to which administrators believe they are entitled.

Staff have vowed neither to attend department, faculty, or university meetings nor participate in activities geared towards the resumption of the new semester beginning January 17.

Academic staff will not upload marksheets for semester one examinations that would have ended last December.

Staff members have, however, been advised to still complete their markings.

During the period, no academic advising will be conducted.

While acknowledging that the disruption would impact the student population, Brown believes that the withdrawal of services is necessary.

The parties involved in the negotiation process are The UWI, Mona Campus; the Open Campus; and the Regional Headquarters.

WIGUT found "a level of ineptness, unpreparedness, and disrespect for the process of negotiation by the university management," said Brown.

Meanwhile, WIGUT said that the proposed four per cent wage hike, which has been accepted by most public-sector workers, would be the union's starting position.

As at December 31, more than 80,000 public-sector workers had accepted the wage offer for April 2021 to March 2022.

Brown has called for the Government of Jamaica to intervene in the stalemate.

“As much as it is action geared towards activities on the Mona Campus, we want to hear something definite from the Government of Jamaica in relation to that aspect so that we can conclude the negotiations,” he said.

Brown has urged the management of the university to “get their act together to ensure that those things that are outstanding will be resolved in the shortest possible time.”

"We all live in hope," Brown said, noting that a meeting with Mona principal, Professor Dale Webber, has been scheduled for Monday, January 10.

WIGUT (Jamaica) had issue a call to the management of The UWI to address all outstanding issues by January 4.

Campus Registrar Dr Donovan Stanberry declined to answer any of The Gleaner's questions about WIGUT Jamaica's actions.

“The UWI, Mona, management is not inclined at this point to make any public comments on the issue until we have had that meeting ... . We will engage the meetings on Monday and we will see what happens,” he said.

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