Pay rises proposed to teaching assistants will double in order to bring their increases in line with teachers, the States announced less than 24 hours before members of the group were due to strike.
Teaching assistants had previously been treated as ‘civil servants’ – something the States described as a “longstanding anomaly” – meaning that their pay was set to rise by 2% over 2018 and 2019.
The move left many dissatisfied and pledging to join a strike alongside civil service unions JCSA Prospect and Unite the Union between 09:00 and 11:00 tomorrow, leaving some schools unable to open as the absence of support staff would stop them from being able to operate within health and safety limits.
But, in an apparent last-minute attempt to avert such action from the group, the States have announced a change of plan.
Pictured: A strike, which was set to include teaching assistants as well as civil servants, will take place at 09:00 in Liberation Square tomorrow.
Describing teaching assistants as “pivotal in helping to deliver government’s priority of putting children first”, States officials announced today that teaching assistants would see their pay rise by 4% instead of 2% like other civil servants.
They will also receive the lump sums previously pledged to them, with a 1.1% sum already having been paid, and another due in January 2019.
At the same time, the States also confirmed a proposed pay rise of 6.1% to all nurses and midwives over 2018/19 – as revealed by Express this morning – as well as a 6.7% (4.5% in 2018 and 2.2% in 2019) pay increase for manual and energy recovery facility workers.
“This pay group has one of the lowest historical pay levels, compared to other groups, so the highest pay offer has been made to this group, to help address this longstanding unfairness,” a statement read.
Commenting on the latest pay offer, Chair of the States Employment Board Senator Tracey Vallois said: “We’ve inherited a number of pay practices that have created a legacy of inconsistency and unfairness that has to be sorted out, once and for all. We want the States to be a good employer, and that means ensuring that no individuals or groups are unfairly disadvantaged in their pay, terms and conditions.”
States Chief Exeuctive Charlie Parker added: “We took Workforce Modernisation off the table for most employees earlier this year, but we still want to make progress on equal pay issues. These revised offers are an important step, but we need to resolve all historical issues.
“We want to work closely with all our unions over the next three or four months – including those in dispute over the 2018/19 pay offers – so that we can implement improvements on 1 January 2020.”
States officials said that they would continue discussing pay with unions over the coming months, with proposals for further changes to be presented to the SEB by March 2019 followed by formal negotiations in the summer.
It is hoped that the conclusions of these negotiations will result in a pay deal to be implemented on 1 January 2020.
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