Jersey civil servants consider strike action over pay

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More than 95 per cent of members of JCSA Prospect, which represents civil servants, have rejected the latest pay awards offered by the States that would have seen them receive a one per cent pay rise for both 2018 and 2019, together with ‘unconsolidated’ payments of 1.1 and 1 per cent in each year.

The Island’s largest teaching union has also rejected their pay offer and heavily criticised the States for increasingly offering ‘unconsolidated’ awards, which are one-off cash payments that do not bolster ongoing pay packages or pensions.

Teachers were offered ‘consolidated’ awards of two per cent for each year and unconsolidated payments of 1.1 and 1 per cent for 2018 and 2019, which adds up to 6.1 per cent altogether. It is estimated that inflation over the two year period could range from seven to nine per cent.

Terry Renouf, president of JCSA Prospect, said that following their ballot of 3,500 members they are now planning to meet other unions within the next six to eight weeks to discuss further action.

‘We are going to discuss how to proceed and will be looking at industrial action, which is unfortunate.

‘Jersey’s civil servants have never gone down this road before,’ he said.

‘It gives some indication of the depth of feeling that there is. We hope that a negotiated settlement can be reached but otherwise all action up to and including strikes will be considered.’

Mr Renouf added that many members of his union have seen colleagues in other job categories receive better pay offers than them.

‘Our membership is not just people sitting behind desks. It, for example, includes teaching assistants who have received a worse offer than the teachers,’ he said.

Brendan Carolan, president of the National Education Union Jersey, said that their union rejected the pay offer on the grounds that it would not match the predicted rates of inflation.

He added that the union views unconsolidated awards as a ‘con-trick’ and because they are not a real pay rise teachers had effectively only been offered a 4.04 per cent increase over the two years.

‘Unconsolidated pay is a one-off cash payment of a percentage of your annual salary that will not be included or feature in any forthcoming years,’ he said.

‘Because it is not aggregated to your annual salary it does not improve your eventual pension or ever improve the official salary you currently earn.’

Mr Carolan said that unconsolidated payments are ‘increasingly figuring’ in pay awards and are often offered after Christmas, when staff are financially vulnerable.

‘We often have a time lag before pay awards are settled that can be over a year,’ he said.

‘When pay awards drag on for 12 months a significant accumulation of back pay that can be given as an unconsolidated cash one-off settlement is an inevitable by-product.

‘This is why we feel justified in using terminology such as “con-trick”.’

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