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Teachers divided over "final" pay offer

Teachers divided over

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Teachers divided over "final" pay offer


The largest teachers’ union in Jersey has rejected the "final" pay offer to teachers put forward by the government, blasting it as "unacceptable" over concerns surrounding supplementary allowances.

It comes just as the other major teaching union - the National Education Union (NEU) - voted in favour of accepting the deal at a meeting last night.

The new offer from the States Employment Board (SEB) - the board responsible for setting public sector workers' pay - would represent a consolidated increase worth 9.4%, plus 2.1% of non-consolidated cash payments over three years, based on an assumed RPI of 3.1%.

The deal is as follows:

  • 2018 – 2% consolidated increase plus 1.1% non-consolidated cash payment
  • 2019 – 2% consolidated increase plus 1.0% non-consolidated cash payment
  • 2020 – RPI + 1.3% consolidated increase, plus an additional 0.8% funded through reforms and sustainable efficiencies.

Chris Keates, the General Secretary of the NASUWT, said that, while the union "recognised and welcomed" that important improvements had been to the pay award, "the current offer is not acceptable."

In a statement published the union's website, she said members are concerned over the approach proposed by the SEB to the review of Supplementary Allowances (SA) - which are paid for additional responsibilities.

“The NASUWT does not dispute that is reasonable for the Government of Jersey to reform approaches to the ways in which teachers are paid for taking on additional responsibilities that benefit children and young people," she wrote.

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Pictured: NASUWT said the SEB can save money by managing non-staff costs better.

“However, the principle objective of the SEB on this issue appears to be to use its proposed review of teachers’ terms and conditions to take money away from teachers, rather than to conduct an objective investigation of the ways in which SAs operate in practice."

Ms Keates said the union and its members have highlighted ways in which the employer could save "significant amounts of money through more efficient management of non-staff costs in the education system."
 
“Better use of public resources in this area would save many times more than the amount that would be recouped through cutting investment in pay for additional responsibilities," she said. "The fact that the SEB has failed to acknowledge this simple fact and has persisted with its proposed attack on SAs is unreasonable and difficult to understand."


 
She added that the current offer would undermine the existing terms and conditions of many teachers and could result in other teachers currently not in receipt of an SA being asked to take up additional tasks and responsibilities for no additional pay.
 
“The NASUWT will never collaborate in the imposition of any reforms to teachers’ terms and conditions that risks such adverse impacts on their pay, workload and career progression prospects," she stated.
 
The Union will now be consulting its members on what next steps it will take, including potential escalation of its industrial action. In the meantime, they urge the SEB "to get back around the table to address the serious shortcomings in its current offer.”

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Pictured: NEU members voted in favour of accepting the government's "final" pay yesterday.

The SEB said they were disappointed the NASUWT had rejected "the final offer which would resolve the dispute over teachers’ pay." "This is particularly concerning in light of last night’s agreement from NEU, the other teaching union, to the same offer," they added.

Members of the National Education Union yesterday voted in favour of accepting the government's "final" pay offer to teachers, during a meeting at the Freedom Church last night.

The Board said they will be meeting later this afternoon to consider their position.

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