Nurses, teachers, fire-fighters, civil servants and other public-sector workers in Jersey are to march for fair pay.
Assembling at 10am on Saturday 9th February at Howard Davis Park, St Clement's Rd, St Helier, workers from key public services will rally and march at 10.30am alongside their supporters to Royal Square, St Helier.
The event is part of an ongoing dispute with States of Jersey employers over pay.
Public sector workers in Jersey have been subjected to many years of below inflation pay awards. This year’s pay offer, which is part of a two-year deal, is once again below RPI, and therefore amounts to a real-terms pay cut. This does not fairly represent the essential work done in Jersey’s public services.
Unions representing the workers, including NAHT, NEU, Prospect, Unite, the Royal College of Nursing, and the Fire and Rescue Service Association (FRSA), are currently negotiating with States of Jersey employers.
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.”
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of NEU, said: “Jersey’s teachers along with other public sector workers have suffered almost a decade of below inflation pay rises and seen a reduction in their standard of living as not just prices but also taxes and housing costs have risen by greater amounts. There is now a real danger that it will not be possible to recruit sufficient teachers with the right qualifications to provide the World class Education service for the island’s young people that we in the NEU have been working with the Education Department to try and deliver.
“Having met many existing Jersey teachers on a recent visit, I am aware of their dedication and commitment to their jobs but this should not be a reason to deny them a proper reward for the work they do. The States need to resource education properly and a fair and reasonable pay award for teachers is part of that process.”
Lindsay Meeks, Regional Director at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “For nurses this march is about much more than just fair pay, it is about equal pay. For too long their pay has lagged behind that of their allied health professional colleagues. Nurses want recognition for their skills and the lifesaving work that they do. Jersey struggles to recruit and retain nurses – by ignoring our repeated calls for an equitable pay rise over the years, the SEB are exacerbating this problem. Nurses are angry, they are frustrated.
“Nurses are marching in support of their fellow unions, to get equal pay for work of equal value and perhaps most importantly for their patients and a strong nursing future in Jersey.”
Mike Clancy, Prospect’s general secretary, said: “We were pleased the Chief Minister agreed to meet our request for mediation and we hope the States Employment Board will enter the discussions with a view to ensuring all parties work together to improve the offer to Civil Servants. Our members are Jersey people and we are sure their peers will stand with them in their pursuit of fair pay.”