Unions considering general strike over latest States pay offer

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Last month more than 95 per cent of the members of JCSA Prospect, which represents civil servants, voted against a pay deal which would have seen them receive a one per cent rise for both 2018 and 2019, together with ‘unconsolidated’ [one-off cash] payments of 1.1 and 1 per cent in each year.

The union is planning to hold a ballot asking their members whether they would be prepared to take industrial action, up to and including going on strike. The ballot is due to take place between 18 October and 2 November.

Other unions have also rejected their pay offers, including the National Education Union and Unite, and are also considering further action. It is understood that a general strike has been discussed during pan-union meetings.

Further negotiations between the unions and States chief executive Charlie Parker are due to be held on 11 October.

NEU Jersey president Brendan Carolan said that his union is planning to ballot its members after the half-term break at the end of the month and said that a ‘general strike is certainly not out of the question’.

‘The NEU is still going ahead with a ballot of its members. It would have been happening now but we have delayed it until after half-term for a couple of reasons,’ he said.

‘September’s inflation rate will be published on 19 October and it would be useful to know this rate as it is the basis we use to gauge inflation for the whole year of 2018.

‘Members can, at this point, easily see what is needed as an offer for 2018 to 2019 to keep their real wage constant.

‘We have been working closely with our fellow teaching union the NASUWT, as they are also considering balloting their members. By half-term they should be only slightly behind our own time line.’

Mr Carolan that by early November ‘most or all’ States workers should have been balloted or be ready to do so.

‘We are heading for a perfect storm and I concur that a general strike is certainly not out of the question,’ he said.

He added that union officials would be likely to meet again if the meeting with Charlie Parker this week proved to be ‘unfruitful’.

JSCA Prospect has arranged public meetings for members and non-members at the Town Hall at 12.30 pm on 11 and 15 October, while an ‘all public sector unions’ meeting is due to be held at 6 pm on 25 October at the Radisson Hotel.

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