The national executive committee of school leaders’ union NAHT have voted to support members in Jersey during an ongoing pay dispute with employers, and have mandated a ballot for industrial action.
NAHT’s national executive is made up of 38 school leaders from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and includes a representative from Jersey. Voting at a quarterly executive meeting in Birmingham they unanimously passed the following motion:
‘The national executive wholeheartedly supports the determination and resolve of our members in Jersey to achieve a fair and equitable settlement in their pay dispute and wishes to convey our unanimous support from our meeting here in Birmingham.
‘Further, that national executive committee delegates authority to the general secretary and national president of the union to proceed with an industrial action ballot of our members employed by the States of Jersey without delay and take all steps necessary in furtherance of the dispute.’
Sam Cooper, NAHT branch president for Jersey, 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.”
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.”
The motion passed by NAHT’s national executive follows a consultative ballot in which NAHT members in Jersey voted overwhelmingly to support industrial action as a potential next step in an ongoing public sector pay dispute.
Public sector workers in Jersey have been subjected to many years of below inflation pay ‘rises’. This year’s pay offer, which is part of a two-year deal, is once again below RPI, and amounts to a real-terms pay cut. School leaders don’t feel that this offer fairly represents the essential work done in Jersey’s public services, including schools.
Rob Kelsall, national secretary for NAHT, said: “School leaders have had enough. They are tired of being told, year after year, that they’re not worth the cost of living. They’re tired of being taken for granted. They’re tired of being asked to do more with less. The last thing any school leader wants to do is to take industrial action but they feel they have been backed into a corner. What we hope now is that the State of Jersey employers will come back to the table and reach an agreement."
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