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Chief Minister denies crisis in public sector

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THE public sector is ‘far from being in crisis’, the Chief Minister has said – despite large sections of the civil service being embroiled in a long-running pay dispute with the States.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré

The States Employment Board – which is chaired by Senator Le Fondré – is now facing a vote of no confidence following months of unrest.

Most recently, hundreds of teachers have been taking part in eight days of strike action throughout May while civil service unions are still engaged in mediation talks.

Senator Le Fondré yesterday announced that an improved pay offer would be made to teachers by the middle of June.

The Chief Minister also said that negotiations were progressing and the no-confidence motion brought by Deputy Geoff Southern risked undermining the SEB’s attempts to resolve the dispute.

He said: ‘This proposition is completely unjustified and totally unnecessary. The States Employment Board is making significant progress in our negotiations, and far from there being a crisis in the public sector, our pay offer has already been accepted by manual and Energy from Waste workers, nurses and midwives, police officers and head teachers.

‘We value our staff and we are working very hard to reach an agreement with all pay groups.

‘This proposition, and its timing, undermines talks that are under way with teaching and civil service unions and crucially distracts SEB’s negotiating team from the job in hand, which is to reach agreement on settling the outstanding pay disputes.’

Deputy Southern, who has previously brought two unsuccessful propositions to free up States funds for improved pay deals, said his no-confidence motion was a ‘last resort in the negotiations’.

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‘The SEB have failed to bring a final offer that teaching unions can put to their members to resolve the impasse, instead there is a promise of some undefined improvement in June,’ he said.

‘This yet again shows the absence of respect for teachers, and a refusal to engage in genuine negotiation that has marked this pay dispute.

‘The SEB effectively has a two-week window in which to come up with a firm offer which can be put to teachers before the confidence proposal comes before the States for debate.’

The vote of no confidence is due to be debated on Tuesday 4 June.

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