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States workers urged to reject public-sector overhaul

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STATES workers will be balloted this week and urged to reject a £47 million overhaul of the public sector.

Unite representative Nick Corbel Picture: JON GUEGAN (20364146)

A meeting for all States employees will be held to discuss the issues and Unite the Union regional representative Nick Corbel has confirmed that staff will be balloted over the proposed changes on Wednesday and Thursday.

Under the plans for the overhaul, workers will be subject to one set of terms and conditions and a standardised pay scheme. Entitlement to maternity leave, holidays and overtime will be the same throughout the workforce.

In order to achieve a standardised pay structure, 35 ambulance service staff will receive a 21.4 per cent increase and residential child care officers a 22 per cent rise in pensionable pay by 2020. Other sectors will see rises between 2.5 and 19.1 per cent.

However, the unions say thousands will be left out of pocket by the changes, with the 3,229 civil servants working in the public sector set to receive an average rise of 3.3 per cent by 2020 – below expected cost-of-living rises.

They argued that the public sector had already suffered 16 years of ‘pay awards well below the rising cost of living’.

The changes, which do not require States approval, were due to come into force last year but are yet to be introduced.

Mr Corbel said: ‘If membership reject the offer it is a case of back around the table – we expect the employer to re-enter negotiations and address the concerns we have highlighted.’

The States unveiled the overall offer last year as a ‘final’ one following months of negotiations. In a joint statement the unions – including Unite, Prospect and the Jersey Nursing Association – have accused the States of ignoring them during the negotiation process.

The statement said: ‘All the unions representing public-sector employees are united in saying the current proposals are not fit for purpose and will cause harm and detriment to the services currently being provided for the benefit of all Islanders.

‘All the unions want to work with the States of Jersey to achieve a modernisation of how the public sector works, but this must be a two-way partnership. The employer must show openness to working with its staff towards achieving modernisation that benefits everyone living and working in Jersey.’

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