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Pay negotiators to face 'no confidence' vote

Pay negotiators to face 'no confidence' vote

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Pay negotiators to face 'no confidence' vote

The group of politicians responsible for handling pay negotiations with government workers will next month face a 'Vote of No Confidence' as the ongoing dispute hits "crisis" point.

Deputy Geoff Southern brought the proposals against the States Employment Board (SEB) this afternoon.

Describing Jersey as being "in crisis", he says the move comes in reaction to the group's inability to resolve the months' long battle over cost-of-living pay rises with public sector workers, which has resulted in strikes from civil servants and teachers.


Pictured: Deputy Geoff Southern, who is bringing the vote.

In a report outlining why he is bringing the vote, the Reform Jersey Deputy slams the SEB, which is led by the Chief Minister, for its continued insistence that "there is no more money" and its "intransigence" in the face of requests from several public sector unions.

In addition, Deputy Southern goes so far as to suggest that the SEB is "exceeding its remit" in moving beyond pay negotiations, and demanding changes in teachers' terms and conditions - such as more inset days and lengthening the school day, as revealed by Express earlier this month.

He also expresses frustration that his plans to free up government money for public sector pay rises was met with disapproval.

"It is my belief that the actions and statements of the States Employment Board have been needlessly combative, resulting in a lack of genuine negotiations and a consequent a loss of trust by our employees in the States as employer. I believe Members can have no confidence that the Board can bring the current dispute to a satisfactory conclusion," he concludes his proposals.

Deputy Southern's proposition follows an announcement by the Chief Minister this morning that he expected to find a solution to the current teacher dispute by mid-June. At the same time, he also confirmed that Head Teachers had accepted a new pay offer and a revised leadership structure that closed a loophole allowing Deputy Head Teachers to be paid more than heads.

Jersey Royal Court and States Chamber sign

Pictured: Politicians will vote on whether they have 'no confidence' in the SEB on 4 June.

The current political membership of the States Employment Board (SEB) is Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré (Chair), Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel, Constables Deidre Mezbourian and Richard Buchanan, and Deputy Graham Truscott. Despite having political responsibility for overseeing negotiations, they have previously been criticised by unions for not attending negotiations meetings, which have largely been conducted by government representatives.

Last week, the National Education Union called for Senator Le Fondré to get round the negotiating table.

The 'no confidence' vote, which has the backing of the Constable of St. Helier Simon Crowcroft, and Deputies Mike Higgins (St. Helier) and Trevor Pointon (St. John), will take place on 4 June.

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