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"Completely unjustified and totally unnecessary"

Wednesday 22 May 2019

"Completely unjustified and totally unnecessary"

The Chief Minister has hit back at an impending 'no confidence' vote against the board responsible for setting government workers' pay as "completely unjustified and totally unnecessary."

Deputy Geoff Southern brought the proposals against the States Employment Board (SEB) yesterday afternoon.

Describing Jersey as being "in crisis", he says the move comes in reaction to the group's inability to resolve the months' long battle over cost-of-living pay rises with public sector workers, which has resulted in strikes from civil servants and teachers.


Pictured: Deputy Geoff Southern, who is bringing the Vote of No Confidence next month.

But the Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, who is Chair of the SEB, has since responded to Deputy Southern's criticism, instead suggesting that his grounds for a 'Vote of No Confidence' were ill-founded.

“This proposition is completely unjustified and totally unnecessary. The States Employment Board is making significant progress in our negotiations, and far from there being a crisis in the public sector, our pay offer has already been accepted by manual and energy from waste workers, nurses and midwives, police officers and head teachers," the Chief Minister said.

“We value our staff and we are working very hard to reach an agreement with all pay groups. This proposition, and its timing, undermines talks that are underway with teaching and civil service unions and crucially distracts SEB’s negotiating team from the job in hand, which is to reach agreement on settling the outstanding pay disputes.”

The comments follow an announcement by Senator Le Fondré yesterday that he expected the current teacher dispute to be resolved by mid-June.


Pictured: The Chief Minister said yesterday that he expected the teacher pay dispute to be resolved next month.

At the same time, he also confirmed that Head Teachers had accepted a new pay offer and a revised leadership structure that closed a loophole allowing Deputy Head Teachers to be paid more than heads.

The current political membership of the States Employment Board (SEB) is Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré (Chair), Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel, Constables Deidre Mezbourian and Richard Buchanan, and Deputy Graham Truscott. Despite having political responsibility for overseeing negotiations, they have previously been criticised by unions for not attending negotiations meetings, which have largely been conducted by government representatives.

Last week, the National Education Union, whose members are striking for three days this week, called for Senator Le Fondré to get round the negotiating table.

The 'no confidence' vote, which has the backing of the Constable of St. Helier Simon Crowcroft, and Deputies Mike Higgins (St. Helier) and Trevor Pointon (St. John), will take place on 4 June.

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