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90% of States pay rises will be below RPI

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MORE than 90 per cent of public sector workers have been offered a pay rise next year that will not match inflation if it stays at the current level, States officials have admitted.

Deputy Rob Ward

A response to a States written question tabled by Deputy Rob Ward has revealed that 86.1% of States workers, 5,797 employees in total, have been offered pay awards this year that are below the retail price index [inflation rate] of 4.5%.

It also indicated that if the cost of living in Jersey continues to increase at the same level next year that pay offers already made to 6,101 public sector employees, 90.7% of the workforce, will also fail to keep up with inflation.

JSCA Prospect, a union which represents civil servants, said that its members have ‘overwhelmingly’ rejected the pay offers for 2018 and 2019 in a ballot held this week and are meeting to discuss further steps on Monday [17/9/18].

Jersey’s RPI soared to a six-year high in June and economists have said that the current inflation rate is unlikely to subside for the foreseeable future.

Facing questioning from Deputy Ward during this week’s States sitting, Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said that inflation is higher than expected but funding for further public sector pay rises is restricted under the States’ current financial plans.

‘The MTFP [Medium Term Financial Plan], which was approved in this assembly, set the maximum expenditure limits for 2016 to 2019,’ she said.

‘These limits reflected a target of savings of £145 million by 2019. The current finance law means that spending limits are fixed for four years and can’t be adjusted upwards in the event of a temporary or permanent increase in income.’

The minister added, however, that she hopes to change the finance law next year to allow more flexibility in funding for wages rises.

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Deputy Ward pointed out that pay rises have fallen behind inflation by between 5.1% and 13% for various types of States worker since 2001.

The response to the written question says that the only workers who received a 2018 pay rise that matched inflation were the ambulance service, family support workers, residential child care officers and the youth service (6.88%), manual and energy-from-waste workers (4.6%) and nurses and midwives (4.5%).

Groups of workers which received below inflation pay rises included doctors (3%), teachers (2%), firefighters, the police and prison officers (2%), civil servants (1%) and executives earning more than £100,000 (nil).

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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