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NAHT members in Jersey back industrial action in island’s schools

Members of school leaders’ union NAHT have voted in favour of industrial action in Jersey.

A resounding 86% of members voted in favour of strike action, with 98% supporting action short of strike (ASOS). Turnout was 68%.

Following the ballot, NAHT’s Jersey executive has decided members should take action short of strike in the first instance. It will today serve the seven working days notice required, meaning the action will commence on Wednesday, July 5.

The action means members will refuse to engage with government requests in a number of ways, including responding to calls or emails outside core hours, discussing their industrial action, facilitating unsolicited school visits, and participating in non-statutory consultations, surveys, meetings, or data requests. (see full list below)

The moves comes after Jersey’s States Employment Board refused to budge from its proposed 7.9% pay rise for the 2023 calendar year.

Paul Whiteman, NAHT’s general secretary, said: “For too long, our members in Jersey have faced below-inflation pay settlements against a backdrop of unsustainable increasing workload.

“Both are fuelling a crisis in recruitment and retention of school staff on the island, which can be difficult at the best of times.

“Our members have now said loud and clear that enough is enough. Going out on strike is the last thing we want, but without decisive action by the government in Jersey to settle this dispute our members may be left with little choice if they are to secure a fair deal and protect children’s education now and in the future.”

Rob Kelsall, NAHT’s assistant general secretary, said: “This result underlines the strength of feeling of school leaders throughout Jersey and their determination to end year-on-year real-terms pay cuts.

“The government of Jersey should now come back to the negotiating table with proposals to retain and recruit the very best leaders and teachers for Jersey’s schools and recognise that investment in our education system is an investment in the island’s future prosperity.

“Industrial action can be averted even at this late stage, and I implore the Jersey government to come forward with a solid offer to resolve this growing dispute with education unions."

Carl Howarth, president of NAHT Jersey, said: “We have been given the very strongest mandate by our members to take all necessary action to protect and sustain the future of education in our island.

“Our members have suffered significant pay degradation over a number of years and the employer has agreed that our data is accurate.

“Moreover, it is vital for the population of Jersey to know that we are facing an unprecedented crisis in recruitment and retention within education. A good education is the bedrock of a society's success and as the island's educational leaders, we are making clear this is at risk."

Earlier this month, the National Education Union and NASUWT voted in favour of industrial action and the NEU has since confirmed its members will strike on Wednesday 5 July.

The action short of strike to be taken by NAHT members in Jersey will mean they will not:

  • submit any risk assessments with regard to managing industrial action, save for any concerning vulnerable children or safeguarding.
  • provide information regarding staff participation in industrial action.
  • complete any business plan for managing strike action.
  • enter into discussion with senior officers from the government of Jersey or employers in regard to any element of the industrial action plan.
  • attend any training facilitated by the government of Jersey or employers.
  • facilitate any unsolicited school visits or participate in non-statutory consultations, surveys, projects, meetings, government or employers webinars or data requests.
  • restrictions on the availability to receive or respond to any calls or emails from the government of Jersey or Children, Young People, Education and Skills department (CYPES) before 8.30am or after 4pm.
  • attend meetings after 4pm save for meetings related to matters of safeguarding.
  • implement any new policy or procedure during the course of industrial action save for matters related to safeguarding.
  • pass on any communications to staff and parents that emanate from the government of Jersey or CYPES.
First published 27 June 2023