Dissatisfaction has grown among several groups of public-sector workers in recent months due to large numbers of employees being offered sub-inflation pay rises for both 2018 and 2019.
A statement released by the National Association of Head Teachers says that the union’s national committee has voted unanimously in favour of Jersey members balloting for industrial action following ‘years’ of pay awards that have not kept pace with the cost of living.
This week, the JCSA Prospect and Unite unions voted in favour of the Island’s civil servants striking for two hours at 9 am on Friday 7 December, with States employees such as office workers, engineers, radiographers and social workers set to refuse to work.
The move could force under-staffed Island schools to close. Sam Cooper, Jersey branch president of the NAHT, confirmed each individual head teacher would need to decide whether their school stays open or not based on issues such as health-and-safety concerns and the ability to teach the curriculum.
Commenting on the NAHT committee’s decision, Mr Cooper said: ‘The Jersey executive are very appreciative of the support of our colleagues on the national executive, and the recognition of the difficulties we are facing.
‘We are pleased we now have a mandate to formally ballot our members and take further steps to resolve the dispute.’
NAHT’s Jersey members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action during an indicative poll.
A States spokeswoman said that departments were prepared for the impact that strike action could have, including on the Island’s schools.
‘All departments have comprehensive contingency plans in place and we will be doing everything we can to ensure we provide the best possible service during any industrial action,’ the spokeswoman said.
‘It is too early to tell how individual schools will be affected by the two-hour strike action planned for Friday 7 December.’ Other Jersey teaching unions, such as the NEU and NASUWT, are also in the process of balloting members.