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Union rep slams pay offer "spin"

Union rep slams pay offer

Thursday 21 March 2019

Union rep slams pay offer "spin"

A senior civil service union representative has urged politicians to “separate ‘fact’ from ‘spin’” in response to an open letter defending the current pay deal as "fair and appropriate".

The plea from Vice President of JCSA Prospect, Mick Robbins, comes ahead of a renewed bid to raid government coffers to plug gaps in public sector pay packets returning to the States Assembly next week.

Ahead of that debate, he hit back at claims made in a letter by members of the States Employment Board (SEB) - Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré, Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel, Constables Richard Buchanan and Deidre Mezbourian and Deputy Graham Truscott - that aimed to justify the 'new' deal to government employees.

In their open letter, the SEB Panel Members outlined their offers to different pay groups as well as explaining that they had bolted on 2020 to the 2018-19 offer.


Pictured: The signatories of the SEB's open letter defending the pay offers they've made to Jersey's public sector workers.

In his letter, Mr Robbins puts forward counter-claims to their points, disputing their assertion that higher pay rises have been "targeted... at lower-paid employees”, as well as saying there is “no evidence” that they have “made significant steps in narrowing the pay gap between civil servants and other groups.” 

Including an amended table put together by the SEB in his letter, Mr Robbins compares the proposed three-year pay offers to the forecast rate of inflation between 2017, before pay rises were introduced, and 2020 which he said the Board “conveniently omitted”.

“Their table shows that most public sector pay groups are expected to accept a further real term pay cut,” Mr Robbins writes. 

The union's Vice President also raises question about the methodology by which the board undertook a job comparison analysis to reach the conclusion that the “that public sector employees are, as a group, paid second only to employees in the financial services sector".


Pictured: JCSA Prospect have compared the proposed offers to forecast increases to inflation 2017-2020.

His rebuttal comes ahead of Deputy Geoff Southern’s renewed effort to unlock currently untouchable funds from savings and underspends to offer higher rises to public sector staff next week. In his last attempt, the Reform Jersey member narrowly missed out on a mandate by just one vote, but his proposition will return to the Assembly on Tuesday. 

Mr Robbins says that, on the day of the second debate, striking teachers and other public sector workers (on their lunch break) will congregate in the Royal Square outside of the Chamber.

Closing his letter, Mr Robbins urged States Members to “analyse the SEB letter carefully and separate ‘fact’ from ‘spin’". "Intelligent and informed debate must be based on truth and not conclusions that cannot be backed up by facts," he concluded.

CLICK below to read the full letter...


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Posted by John Henwood on
Call it what you like Mr Robbins, the fact is that many, possibly most, public sector employees including the uniformed services, are earning around a third more than their UK counterparts on a like-for-like basis and paying lower taxes; on top of which they receive pension payments of around 16% of salaries from the public purse (a very much greater contribution to pensions than they make themselves) which is much more generous than anything available in the private sector. You choose to overlook these matters when you spin your side of the story. On top of which I would point out that, thanks to past government profligacy, we have a structural deficit - a black hole in Jersey's finances - which is why the present government is right to say Jersey can't afford more. The latest offer mortgages our future and is remarkably generous, I'd call it reckless, and it disappointing that you seem unable to recognise the facts.
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