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“Disgusted” civil servants to give up goodwill

“Disgusted” civil servants to give up goodwill

Friday 23 November 2018

“Disgusted” civil servants to give up goodwill


No extra hours, no answering emails outside work, full lunch breaks…hundreds of civil servants will next week be doing no more than the minimum they are contracted to do in a bid to show the States how their goodwill keeps the island running, after they were refused a ‘cost of living’ pay rise.

The island’s largest public sector workers union Prospect yesterday officially warned the States that members would “work to rule” from Thursday next week – the first phase of industrial action, which could precede a full strike.

It comes after States Chief Charlie Parker announced that disputed pay rises of 1% and 2% would be forced into the wage packets of civil servants, teachers and uniformed service workers without their agreement. 

He argued that this was because there was “no more money”, despite protests from Prospect earlier this week that this was not true. 

Charlie Parker

Pictured: Charlie Parker reiterated his previous comment that "there is no more money" within States budgets for pay rises as he informed workers that the deal would be imposed without their consent.

Meanwhile, nurses, midwives, and manual and energy workers were told they would receive a revised offer that will see all staff given the same percentage pay rise, rather than having higher increases targeted at those on the lowest salaries. 

Terry Renouf, Chairman of the Jersey Civil Service Alliance (JCSA) branch of Prospect, whose union represents over 2,000 workers, told Express this tactic appeared to be an attempt to divide and conquer.

“They’ve literally just poured fuel over an already burning fire,” he said, explaining why the decision to work to rule had been taken.

“We have gone into formal dispute now… That’s going to mean working contracted hours – no working outside of contracted hours unless payment in overtime is advanced or they can claim it back within flexi-time period – no answering phones or emails outside hours, no going on call unless you’re paid ‘on call’ status, and taking your lunch hour – which most of us don’t, we just work right the way through or your lunch break – and not going off-island if travel is involved outside normal working hours.” 

With 600 vacancies already within the States workforce – and now a temporary freeze placed on recruitment – Mr Renouf said the industrial action would help communicate the difficulties the States would encounter were it not for the goodwill of workers, who lose thousands of hours of pay a year going “above and beyond.” 

Mick Robbins (Vice-chairman) and Terry Renouf (chairman) JCSA Prospect

Pictured: Vice-Chairman Mick Robbins (left) and Chairman Terry Renouf (right) from JCSA Prospect.

“What they don’t realise is that it’s civil servants that keep the island running. We have everyone within the legislature ensuring that the island runs correctly in terms of the law, we have finance people to ensure that budgeting is all done correctly, that income is apportioned correctly. We’re the cogs that make the organisation run."

He continued: “[Public sector workers] don’t do this because they get extra pay or time off in lieu, they do it because they care about what they’re doing… We join the public sector workforce because we want to provide a service to the islanders that live here. A lot of people – certainly in finance – inside the organisation could get a lot more money outside, but they do it because they want to ensure the island is a stable, safe and secure environment for children and grandchildren.”

Although not every public sector worker is member of a union, Mr Renouf said he anticipated that those who are not will still take part.

Next week Prospect will be holding an AGM, during which strike action will be considered. 

Despite this week’s “disappointing” pay offer, Mr Renouf welcomed the news that Express had succeeded in its appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner to make Mr Parker’s £250,000 contract available for public scrutiny.

Describing it as a “victory”, he said he was glad the right decision had been made. “It should have been made public straight away in the interests of openness and transparency. “ 

The States have agreed to send the contract, with some redactions, to Express within 28 days.

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Posted by John Henwood on
I find it really interesting that when the civil servants and their union Prospect are seeking support for a pay claim they always fail to mention the pension component of their compensation packages.Whereas in the private sector anything that resembles a final salary scheme or averaged salary scheme is a thing of the past, civil servants still enjoy 'gold plated' pensions related to earnings not contributions. Further, the taxpayer funds a far greater proportion of the pension contribution than the staff member who will enjoy the benefits. It would be helpful were the States Employment Board to spell out the cost of civil servant pensions at this time when we are contemplating a diminished service from those whose salaries and pension contributions we pay. Then perhaps we'd see that they are not so hard done by after all.
Posted by Scott Mills on
Remember John, they may have favourable pensions, but in private finance sector companies do pay into your pension scheme. Plus private workers can receive yearly bonuses, higher pay increases, better social activities within the workforce and thei roles are not linked to any grading scheme, with 3 incremements (so no reaching for example Grade 6, increment 3 then that's it, unless someone moves from a higher graded role!). Least I think that's how it works. So over the years....add up bonuses, more scope to earn more in their working life. All swings and roundabouts.
Posted by Dave Lelievre on
The supposedly austere new policy of no new hirings announced by Connétable de St. Oüen Richard Buchanan on Monday isn't going to apply to hiring new spin doctors and other "essential" roles at the top of the States. I feel like I remind people of this a lot, but we've already spent over nine million quid on making sure that the assorted transition team gruppenführers making up Parker's oberkommando are living in sufficient luxury. That's quite enough, thanks Charlie.
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