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Teachers vote to accept new Government's improved pay deal

Teachers vote to accept new Government's improved pay deal

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Teachers vote to accept new Government's improved pay deal

Tuesday 13 February 2024

After well over a year of being in dispute over pay, members of the island's largest teaching union have voted to resolve their differences with the Government and accept an improved offer.

Members of the National Education Union voted overwhelmingly to accept the Government's offer, which included a 8% rise for this year, a £1,500 one-off payment and guarantees of a rise 1% above inflation for both 2025 and 2026.

The ballot by the NEU over the past week, which resulted in a 96% "yes" vote on a turnout of 70%, follows the acceptance of the deal by the other main teaching union, the NASUWT, just before Christmas.

Talks over pay first began in autumn of 2022 and continued for the remainder of the academic year, with both unions staging industrial action during the summer term: a one-day strike by NEU members in July, when Government ministers were heckled and booed during a rally in the Royal Square, and work-to-rule action by the NASUWT.

The dispute continued into the autumn term last year, which saw a further five days of strikes by NEU members, a first-ever strike by headteachers and a continuation of the NASUWT's work-to-rule action.

Settling the dispute had been a priority for new Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham after taking office in late January.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham.png

Pictured: Deputy Lyndon Farnham became Chief Minister last month.

Deputy Farnham, who is also Chair of the States Employment Board, said: "I hope this resolution reinforces our shared commitment to the success and prosperity of our valued educational community.

"I would like to express thanks to all parties involved for their willingness to engage in further constructive dialogue, which led us to this common ground.

"I very much hope we can now all look forward to a period of stability and opportunity for both teachers and pupils.”

Nick Childs, the NEU's Senior Regional Officer, said: "We are pleased that this long-running and entirely avoidable dispute has been resolved.

"We welcome the constructive approach from the new Government and only regret that such an approach was not taken at an earlier stage by the previous administration, when strike action could and should have been avoided.

"Strike action... was always a last resort, but members have been clear that previous offers were not acceptable and failed to address long-term pay decline and a consequent crisis in recruitment and retention in Jersey."

Pictured (top): Constable Andy Jehan, who served as vice-chair of the States Employment Board at the time, was heckled by striking teachers during a rally in the Royal Square last July.

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