Teachers have every reason to be happy today where
their salary is concerned. Let us go back to the days of the NAR. During
the NAR days, teachers suffered a cut in salaries. This according to the
NAR was absolutely necessary in order to correct the massive mismanagement
of the PNM Government. It was considered by the NAR as a type of loan that
the teachers were giving the Government to correct the shambled economy
left by the heavily corrupted and incompetent PNM administration.
The TUTTA union however took the pay cut to court, and the Government was ordered to reimburse the teachers that money. The then NAR had promised to do this via the National Investment Company (NIC) in which teachers would have been given shares in profitable state companies. These shares would have been transferable. Other repayment mechanisms were offered such as debt swapping, compensatory leave etc.
None of this happened because the NAR was replaced by the Patrick Manning PNM with a minority of votes in the next General Elections of 1995. Patrick Manning during the Campaign of 1995 severely criticized the NIC concept saying that this was “forcing teachers to be entrepreneurs” and that he is sure that there is enough money in the treasury to pay teachers back their money in cash. ( Check back on those campaign speeches) .
However, during his entire term of Government, Manning repaid not one single cent to the teachers. It took the UNC government to wipe out this debt to teachers (each teacher on the average received over $20,000.00 dollars in bonds). Not only did he not repay the debt as he promised, teachers salary remained the same during his term in Government. ( See chart below). To add insult to this, he raised taxes all around, reducing our actual take home back to lower than it was before NAR days. Note the continous increase during the UNC's term.
A COMPARISON OF YOUR SALARIES UNDER THREE ADMINISTRATIONS
Teachers have had their salaries increased during the UNC administration by over 80% compared to what it was during the PNM term of office.(See chart below)
This is the gross salary of a typical Teacher II.
People may want to argue that the cost
of living had gone up and that inflation would eat up this increase. However
we have seen record low inflation during the UNC term of Government. Therefore
there is a real improvement in the quality of the life of a teacher. Teachers
are now earning a respectable salary and can now finally compare to our
colleagues in the other industries. We no longer have to feel shame that
janitors were recieving more money than we were.
Based on the above, why then would people take a chance or even consider voting PNM, especially based on Mr. Manning's track record of raising taxes and not living up to his promises.
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