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Strikes to go ahead despite new pay offer

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MEMBERS of Jersey’s civil service union are due to receive a new pay offer from the government next week as the long-running dispute continues.

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But two days of strikes by thousands of members of the JCSA Prospect union, planned to take place over the bank holiday weekend, are still due to go ahead.

The revised offer, which will be sent to members next week, includes confirmation of an above-inflation pay rise in 2020, a further pay increase and the removal of a planned lengthening of the working day.

The ballot on the latest offer will open on Thursday and will last for two weeks. Details of the ballot are being sent out next week. The previous deal offered to civil servants was a 1% pay rise for 2018 and 2019, 2.1% in one-off cash payments over the two years and a 1.3% above-inflation pay award for 2020.

That was rejected by union members, many of whom felt aggrieved at receiving below-inflation pay offers. The most recent inflation rate was 3.6%.

Terry Renouf, president of JCSA Prospect, said the offer for civil servants was lower than that awarded to other pay groups.

‘Civil servants are among the lowest paid, and several hundred are paid below the starting level of manual workers. The majority of those are in education and health.’

The four sessions of strike action planned are due to take place on:

  • Friday 23 August – 9am to 1pm.

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  • Friday 23 August – 1pm to 5pm.
  • Tuesday 27 August – 9am to 1pm.
  • Tuesday 27 August – 1pm to 5pm.

Mr Renouf said members could choose whether to strike for half a day or longer and that the revised offer would have no effect on the strikes this month.

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‘The planned action will continue for those that wish to demonstrate their displeasure at the 2018 and 2019 imposed pay offer that’s the lowest of all pay groups,’ he said.

‘It’s been a while since we last took action. We’ve been trying to work things out with the employer but we’ve got to the stage where we are where we are.’

The union will not publish details of the revised offer before their members receive them next week.

Last month St Ouen Constable Richard Buchanan, vice-chairman of the SEB, said the planned strike action was an ‘unwelcome development’ and that discussions to try to resolve the dispute would continue.

A statement issued by the government communications unit said: ‘The States Employment Board has made a new offer to civil servants to try to resolve the ongoing pay dispute covering 2018, 2019 and 2020. At the union’s request, this offer removes a proposed increase to the working week of six minutes a day, which was linked to extra holiday entitlement.

‘It also commits to a guaranteed pay increase of 1.3% above cost of living from 1 January 2020 and a further increase, to be identified jointly from new savings and efficiencies.

‘The board is disappointed that, in putting the offer to their members, the unions are not recommending a vote in favour of it, but are continuing to support industrial action on 23 and 27 August, around the bank holiday weekend. All available steps are being taken to minimise any impact on services.’

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