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Teachers to receive new pay offer by middle of June

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AN improved pay offer will be made to teachers by the middle of June and head teachers have agreed their own deal with the States.

Just an hour before striking teachers met in the Royal Square yesterday for the latest rally to express their discontent at being offered pay rises that have lagged behind inflation, Chief Minister John Le Fondré announced that a new deal would be on the table soon.

For three days this week 24 schools are due to be partially closed as NEU members take part in a series of strikes, while NASUWT members are refusing to cover classes for absent colleagues as part of their own programme of industrial action.

NEU president Brendan Carolan has said the news that there would be an improved offer provided no tangible numbers and would not be enough to halt the ongoing strikes.

He said: ‘As soon as we have a fresh, improved offer in writing we would give it every consideration. We would likely suspend action as soon as it is formally given to us in writing.

‘We can’t suspend action on that [announcement]. There is no figure and it is a timetable of mid-June. It is just spin.

‘We are waiting for the offer to be put in writing and that has still not materialised.’

Marina Mauger, of the NASUWT, said that their cover action would also continue but added: ‘We have been in very constructive and productive talks and they will continue later this week.’

Head and deputy head teachers have, meanwhile, agreed a three-year pay deal – the same basic pay offer as for teachers – and a new leadership model.

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Over three years, the pay deal is worth 8.6% in consolidated increases plus 2.1% cash and was approved by 69% of members.

Under the new model, no teacher will be paid more than a deputy head teacher and no deputy head teacher will earn more than a head teacher. Senator Le Fondré said in the past there had been cases in which a deputy head was promoted to a head but ended up taking a pay cut.

However, Sam Cooper, president of the National Association of Head Teachers Jersey branch, said they would continue to support their teaching colleagues in their ongoing pay claims and disputes.

In a statement, Senator Le Fondré said States negotiators had been authorised to build on the progress that had been made during negotiations about teachers’ pay in the past two weeks ‘in order to make an improved pay offer by the middle of June’.

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He said: ‘We need to reach a resolution and provide the certainty that is necessary for the Island’s children and their parents, especially at a time when many will be facing important examinations. I do not want to see this process further prolonged and causing damage to our student’s education.

‘SEB values the work of all of our teachers and wants to reach a fair and reasonable agreement, which is acceptable to all parties.

‘I am encouraged by the current dialogue between our negotiators and the teachers’ union negotiators, and hope that a solution can be reached without the need for further industrial action.’

Addressing States Members during question time yesterday, the Chief Minister described the current status of the pay negotiations as like ‘establishing the foundations’ but not yet building the house.

A States spokeswoman said the government could not speculate or comment on what the revised pay offer could look like as negotiations were ongoing.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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