Tensions between civil servants and the government show no sign of letting up, with union members having voted to reject the latest pay deal.
The news came from JCSA Prospect, who this afternoon announced that around two thirds (67%) of their public sector union members had voted against the new offer from the States Employment Board (SEB).
Described as "the best that can be negotiated" by the SEB, the new deal included the pay offer already implemented for 2018 and 2019, as well as a “substantially higher offer” for 2020 equivalent to the September 2019 inflation rate – forecast to be around 3.1% - plus 1.3%.
It also included an offer to work with unions to identify areas where costs can be cut, with a pledge to share those savings 50:50 with civil servants via salary increases from 1 January 2020.
The SEB had previously suggested increasing holiday entitlement in return for a longer working day – something they described as broadly cost-neutral but beneficial for civil servants, especially those working more than their contracted hours - but this was eventually withdrawn from the offer at the unions’ request.
A ballot was opened last month, with strikes from JCSA Prospect and Unite members following on 23 and 27 August.
Following today's rejection, JCSA Prospect, who noted that they were given the lowest award of any pay group in the island, have said they will be contacting the SEB for a meeting to try and find a way through the impasse.
Pictured: The positives and negatives laid out to union members by JCSA Prospect ahead of the most recent ballot.
Terry Renouf, JCSA Prospect President, commented: "This sends a very clear message that the largest single pay group in the organisation remains unhappy with their treatment by the employer.
"Staff morale is at an all-time low and goodwill is non-existent. Many members are finding themselves working alongside colleagues from other pay groups who have had double the pay awards, despite doing very similar work or in some cases identical work.
"There is no fairness or equity in the manner in which this has been handled so far by the employer."
SEB Vice-Chair, Constable Richard Buchanan, said the board was "disappointed" to learn of the results, but added that it was "pleased that the unions state that they wish to reach a settlement through meaningful negotiation, as this has always been the Government's wish."
He continued: "It is important that we understand what alternatives they have considered to the offer on the table, so we hope that they will bring forward practical suggestions for discussion."
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