The heavy rain didn't dampen the spirits of at least 300 States workers who went on strike this morning to protest against what they see as a “derisory pay award,” and a “failure to negotiate” as the long-standing and embittered row over wages steps up a gear.
Members represented by both of Jersey’s civil service unions – JCSA Prospect and Unite the Union – battled the elements as they gathered in Liberation Square to voice their anger over a pay process which they believe shows how little they are valued by their employer.
Despite the Chief Minister maintaining that the situation is not an “emergency”, the stakes were high at this morning’s two-hour rally as union representatives, politicians and staff members passionately addressed the crowds.
JCSA Prospect President Terry Renouf said that the number of striking staff gathered “shows the determination we all have to bring this matter to a resolution.”
Pictured: Striking staff members were encouraging passing vehicles to honk their horn in support of the disgruntled public sector workers.
When asked why they were striking, one public sector worker told Express: “The States Employment Board have driven us and all our civil service colleagues – teaching assistants, fisheries workers, biomedical scientists, tax workers, social workers, whoever they are they’ve driven us to this by the derisory pay award and the failure to negotiate…
Video: The first of what could be a series of public sector strikes over the increasingly bitter row over wages.
“We’ve had enough of ten years below RPI rises and the complete feeling of being undervalued…”
Senator Sam Mézec was one of the few States Members to attend the demonstration and spoke to the striking staffmembers through a megaphone: “Thank you for being here this morning on this absolutely dreadful Friday morning in the pouring rain which I think is testament to how strongly so many of you feel about not just your work, but about the island of Jersey and the services which each and every one of us… depends upon.”
Pictured: Senator Mézec addressed the striking crowds.
Senator Mézec was joined in the Square by Deputies Montfort Tadier, Geoff Southern and Rob Ward.
The protest follows Deputy Southern's proposal to take money from the States' coffers to resolve the row being narrowly defeated in the States Chamber yesterday.
Civil servants voted unanimously to escalate to strike action last week after being told by the States that “there is no more money” and they may be forced to accept pay rises not in line with the cost of living if they don’t relent.
Pictured: This could be the first in a series of public sector strikes as the pay dispute reaches a boiling point.
Pathologists, teaching assistants, Customs & Immigration officers and many more civil service workers gathered in protest of years without pay increases in line with the cost of living.
There was a feeling that this could be the first in a series of public sector strikes after JCSA Prospect President Terry Renouf told Express that staff had been “backed into a corner” by their employer.
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