The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has pulled out of pay talks with the the States, claiming that there is a "scant regard for any negotiation process" over a cut to newly-qualified teachers' pay.
The unions had been in negotiations for over 18 months to settle pay rates and employment rights, but an agreement is yet to emerge, with discussions complicated by numerous unions leaving the process along the way.
Jersey's NUT had been one of the few remaining public sector workers' unions to contribute their voice to the debate, but they pulled out on Tuesday in the midst of an ongoing row over planned cuts to educational staff pay, voted in last year by the States as part of plans to make savings of £73 million annually by 2019.
NUT Jersey in line with joint council will withdraw from work force modernisation until 2015/16 pay failings are resolved.— NUTJersey (@NUTJersey) January 31, 2017
Under the plans, teachers’ starting salaries would be cut by up to eight thousand pounds, which the NUT believe will spark a recruitment crisis in the sector.
Whilst the planned rate is more than the £22,000 salary for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in the UK, it will be less than the salaries of those based in London, who start on £28,000.
Following the proposed cuts, the NUT started a petition – now with a combined written and online total of over 2,000 signatures - which will be presented in the coming weeks with support from national officials.
Support teachers here. https://t.co/tHQx1d2ngE— NUTJersey (@NUTJersey) January 28, 2017
No to cuts to Jersey schools. No to NQT pay cuts. Stop this assault on our profession.
Speaking about their decision to withdraw from talks, Jersey NUT President Robert Ward told Express that the union could not, "...continue to engage in a process of modernisation, to which we have made a positive contribution, at the same time as having negotiation rights ignored."
He said that the union objected to the "imposition without consultation" of a 2015 pay freeze and a pay increase of just 1% for 2016, which sparked a Royal Square protest last September.
"In addition, the unilateral decision by the States to impose an £8,000 pay cut for newly-qualified teachers shows scant regard for any negotiation process, and no respect for the education profession," he said.
"We hope that the SEB will urgently reconsider the imposition of these decisions. There is an opportunity to rethink and correct erroneous decisions. I hope the SEB can show the leadership needed to do this."
Pictured: Chief Minister and Chair of the States Employment Board, Ian Gorst, said that he had "complete confidence" in the board.
Despite recent negotiation difficulties, Chief Minister and Chair of SEB, Senator Ian Gorst, maintained that the board, "...are fully aware and engaged with pay negotiations through our officers and they have our complete confidence."
He added: "Over the last few months, we have been trying to find ways to resolve the 2015/2016 pay impasse to everyone’s satisfaction in difficult circumstances. The unions are aware of this work and we will continue to strive to find a solution.
“The States Employment Board met with unions on 7th November, where it was mutually agreed that more funds were needed for workforce modernisation. That funding was subsequently secured, approved by The Council of Ministers, and we confirmed the updated position to unions at another meeting on 20th January 2017."
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I have great respect for the education system, but quite honestly there are not many jos where you can waltz out of University in to £30K+ a year (I share similar concerns over the police force salaries).
In truth, the job they undertake is importnant, but is it any more important then the nurses and soldiers who start on a much lower pay scale!