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Nurses "still have concerns" after accepting new pay deal


Monday 15 April 2019

Nurses "still have concerns" after accepting new pay deal

Nurses across the island will see their wages increase after members of both nursing unions accepted the government's new pay deal - but a union says they "still have concerns" about the terms of their jobs and the high levels of temporary staff use.

Earlier this month, members of the Jersey Royal College of Nursing (RCN) voted in favour of a revised pay rise offer of 1.3% plus inflation in 2020.

The Jersey Nursing Association (JNA) had been due to put out its ballot results at the same time, but had these 'voided' amid concerns about incorrect information being put out at the time of the ballot launch.

The results of the new ballot have been counted, with 61% of respondents voting in favour of accepting the deal. 38%, meanwhile, said no.

In a statement following the result, JNA Branch Secretary Jasen Cronin commented: "The members voted 61% to 38% in favour of accepting the three-year pay deal offered by the States of Jersey.

"They still have concerns in respect of their Terms and Conditions of employment going forward as the whole of the States are being reviewed and have yet to be convinced by empirical evidence that the job comparisons with the Allied Health Professionals has been done well enough to demonstrate true pay parity.

"Recent articles... clearly demonstrate that our members quality of life has been allowed to slide and the recent agreement whilst better than initially offered has not been generous enough to reverse that decline. It is worth mentioning again that the decline in standard of living and the ongoing need to use high levels of temporary staff has been brought about by the policies enacted by this States government."

The new pay deal acceptance comes after around a year of escalating tensions between nurses unions and the States Employment Board (SEB) - the panel that sets public sector workers' pay and employment terms and conditions - over wages not increasing in line with rises in the cost of living.

They also complained that, while they suffered a real-terms wage cut, the expectation to work beyond shift hours to help plug staffing gaps had increased.

By November last year, tensions had reached such a point that nurses were urged by the RCN to "withdraw goodwill", suggesting that staff that usually miss breaks, start early or finish late should record that time as 'TOIL' and submit a claim for time off in lieu or overtime payment.

But now that action is expected to cease as the new offer is accepted.

Meanwhile, midwives from the Royal College of Midwives have already joined nurses in accepting the three-year deal, with 58% of its members declaring themselves in favour on a turnout of 63%.

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