Following many years of tardy and below RPI wage rises the unions representing public sector workers in Jersey are reporting that their members are feeling downtrodden and undervalued. This year’s pay offer, which is part of a two year deal, is below RPI, representing another two years of real-terms pay cut for the essential work done in Jersey’s public services, including schools.
Sam Cooper, NAHT Branch President for Jersey said: “School leaders are usually a cooperative, reserved group. We have not been prone to air our disputes in public, preferring to work through challenges behind closed doors. But we’ve had enough. We’ve had enough of being taken for granted. We’ve had enough of being told, year after year, that despite our important work and the fact that educational standards are rising in Jersey, we’re not worth the cost of living again. And again. And again.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT said: “We are right behind our colleagues in Jersey. We have seen that failures to implement fair pay settlements for leaders and their teams have had a huge and negative impact on recruitment and retention. Without a skilled and motivated workforce, none of Jersey’s aspirations to raise the academic and social standards and outcomes for the children and young people on the island will come to fruition. The current pay offer does not cover the expectation placed upon Jersey’s school leaders."
NAHT, along with other public sector unions on Jersey are balloting members on the next steps in this dispute. NAHT will ask its members whether they would be prepared to take industrial action to support the campaign for fair pay. The results of the ballot, which is a consultative step, will determine the next steps the union will take.
Rob Kelsall, National Secretary for NAHT said: “The door is still open for the employers here. The States need to consider their priorities. Lower pay for public servants whilst expecting more from them is a political choice. The States need to consider what sort of relationship they want with their public servants. Are we living in an environment where the employer has a caring and invested relationship with the employee, or are we sleepwalking into a soul-less and autocratic relationship, losing sight of what makes Jersey special? If we want a world class education service for our children and young people then we have to invest in those who deliver that service."
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