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Unions angered by “woefully inadequate” pay offer

Unions angered by “woefully inadequate” pay offer

Monday 30 September 2019

Unions angered by “woefully inadequate” pay offer


Unions have reacted angrily to what they described as a "woefully inadequate" pay offer being forced into the wage packets of more than 3,000 civil servants, without their agreement.

The States Employment Board (SEB) wrote to civil servants on Friday to announce that they would be getting just over 1% more than inflation as their 2020 pay increase across the board.

The Board claimed they had “no choice” but to implement the rejected pay increase of inflation plus an extra 1.3% which was overwhelmingly kicked out by civil service unions Prospect and Unite.

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Pictured: The base pay increases and grade increments for civil service pay increments which are being forced into employee pay packets.

While describing the situation as “unfortunate,” the SEB said that it will keep the 50:50 ‘gain share agreement’ – where civil servants can have a higher pay increase if they find where money can be cut to afford them – and the offer of additional holidays in exchange for a longer working week on the table until 30 November.

Until this date, the Board say they are still willing to negotiate on these elements of the deal. They however warned that these “cannot be implemented without the agreement and cooperation of the unions."

Unite and Prospect described this latest offer as “woefully inadequate."

In a statement published on Unite's website, they said they would not put it to their members as it was basically the same as one that has already been rejected twice and would only “serve to lengthen what has already been a prolonged process of negotiation."

Both unions expressed “frustration and disappointment at SEB’s intransigence and its failure to improve its pay offers for 2018 and 2019, despite staff striking on three occasions since July 2019 and the unions proposing a number of constructive solutions to the dispute."

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Pictured: The unions say they are frustrated and disappointed at what they see as the SEB's intransigence.

Furthermore, the unions said the offer did not meet the SEB’s pledge to provide ‘equal pay for work of equal value’, as it had not conducted a comparison between civil servants and the pay groups who received the lowest pay awards; teachers and uniformed services.

Both unions said they remained open to talks to settle the long-running dispute but that SEB needed to "get serious."

“Civil servants in Jersey deserve a decent pay rise,” said Brett Sparkes, Unite's Acting Regional Officer. “The board’s latest pay offer remains woefully inadequate, an extra one off day’s leave changes nothing, which is why we will not be putting this offer back to our members.

“After nearly a decade of frozen pay and below inflation pay increases our members have twice sent a very clear message that SEB’s pay offer is inadequate and falls well short of what they deserve. This should be message enough.”

In a letter sent to its members, JCSA Prospect said the move was "in conflict" with the guarantees the SEB had given following the last pay imposition. At the same, the board had said it wished to avoid the same situation in the future and preferred "to make every effort to reach negotiated settlements", but the union says it has continually failed to offer anything that would achieve this.

The union warned that the imposition would not end the dispute, but would, in fact, have the opposite effect, explaining: "[It] will no doubt harden the resolve of members whilst  undermining any remaining goodwill and trust in the employer to treat staff in a fair and equitable manner in comparison to their fellow public sector employees."

 

Terry Renouf, Chairman of JCSA Prospect, added: “Both Prospect and Unite have worked hard throughout the process to try and reach a negotiated settlement with the SEB and have made numerous proposals which have been rejected by the employer.

“This process has been mostly one sided with very few proposals coming forward from the SEB and their representatives, despite an assurance being given by the Chief Minister to Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy on a visit to Jersey early this year that both sides will need to change their stance to try and reach agreement.

“Unfortunately the employer has not changed its stance on 2018 and 2019 throughout the process. This latest move from the employer does nothing towards settling the ongoing pay dispute and will further undermine staff’s confidence in their employer to treat them fairly.”

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