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Pay dispute: Nurses urged to end unpaid overtime

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NURSES are being encouraged by their unions to demand more overtime pay and no longer work on ‘goodwill’ as public-sector workers prepare for industrial action in reaction to their latest pay offers.

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The Royal College of Nursing and Jersey Nursing Association have advised their members to ‘withdraw goodwill’, meaning they will record all overtime if they work 15 minutes or more beyond their contracted hours.

Nurses have also been advised not to work on bank shifts – on a supply basis – and instead demand overtime if they are asked to work additional hours. They have been asked to disclose how much additional time they are requested to work to the unions.

Other unions, including the National Association of Headteachers, are now planning to ballot staff on ‘next steps’ after a high proportion of workers were offered pay rises that would be below the expected increase in the cost of living for 2018 and 2019. Terry Hanby, convener of the Jersey Nursing Association, said that advising members to withdraw goodwill was the ‘first step’ in response to widespread dissatisfaction over the pay offer.

He added that the union was planning to meet States representatives within the next week and might ballot its members on formal industrial action depending on the outcome.

‘It depends on what happens during those meetings. We really need to wait and see,’ he said.

The National Association of Headteachers’ Jersey branch confirmed that it would be balloting its members on ‘next steps’ because staff had been receiving below-inflation pay rises for a number of years.

A statement released by the union says: ‘This year’s pay offer, which is part of a two-year deal, is below RPI, representing another two years of real-terms pay cut for the essential work done in Jersey’s public services, including schools.’

Sam Cooper, NAHT branch president for Jersey, said that the Island’s headmasters had ‘had enough of being taken for granted’.

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‘We’ve had enough of being told, year after year, that despite our important work and the fact that educational standards are rising in Jersey, we’re not worth the cost of living again.’

Terry Keefe, the regional co-ordinating officer for Unite the union, said that it had Jersey members who were also being balloted on industrial action.

‘Unite is the biggest trade union in Jersey and has civil-service membership who are also being balloted on the current pay offer of 1% per year,’ he said.

‘We also have hundreds of members in health with the Jersey Nursing Association, uniformed services, manual workers and technicians.’

Meanwhile, Craig Channing of the Jersey Fire and Rescue Association, said that they were waiting for the States to confirm that its pay offer was final before balloting members.

He added: ‘As the other groups are preparing for industrial action ballots, I am quietly confident that the employer may accede to the joint union standpoint.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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