Teachers reject 7.9% pay deal as strike threat grows

- Advertisement -

TEACHERS have overwhelmingly rejected the government’s proposed 2023 pay deal, with a large majority indicating they would consider industrial action if an improved offer is not made.

Both the main teaching unions are asking the States Employment Board to return to the negotiating table after consulting members and being told the existing 7.9% offer was unacceptable.

The latest developments in teachers’ negotiations come as just under 1,000 government employees in the manual and technical sector have accepted a 7.9% deal – the same settlement as had previously been accepted by civil servants and police officers.

A consultation of members carried out by the NASUWT – described as an indicative poll rather than an official ballot – showed just 5% of respondents were willing to accept the SEB’s offer.

And 80% of respondents said they would consider some form of action if an improved deal was not forthcoming.

Marina Mauger, of the NASUWT, said she was surprised at the size of majorities that emerged from the consultation.

She said: ‘I thought it would be high, but not this high, and it shows the strength of feeling.

‘We are in the middle of a recruitment crisis and have seen inflation go up to 12.7% – meanwhile, teachers are facing the need to provide extra cover and cope with increased class sizes.’

Following strike action in Jersey in 2019, Mrs Mauger said teachers would be ‘very reluctant’ to close schools, and said she hoped the employer would indicate a willingness to resume negotiations and make a ‘realistic offer’.

During December, when the rate of inflation was 10.4%, teachers called for a pay-rise of 15.4%, with the extra 5% intended to cover what unions said were a series of annual settlements that represented real-term salary cuts.

NEU president Mark Oliver said his members had indicated ‘overwhelming’ rejection of the employer’s offer, with a ‘significant majority’ saying they were prepared to consider industrial action.

The JEP understands that both the main unions have around 500 members out of a total number of just over 1,000 teachers.

Mr Oliver declined to give figures for how many respondents voted to reject the offer and consider industrial action.

‘Our members are struggling to pay rent and mortgages and to afford basic essentials, and some of them are saying enough is enough,’ he said. ‘The process has been very slow, which seems to be the same every year, and members keep asking us when it will be resolved – which is a question we can’t answer.

‘The government say they can’t afford it, but children are meant to be a high priority – they need high-quality teachers in every classroom, or the position will be bleak.’

The government has indicated that it is awaiting official notification of the consultation from one of the main unions, and will then respond to both unions about the next steps.

Meanwhile, a group of 975 manual and technical workers voted by 55% to 45% to accept the proposed offer, made up of a 7.9% pay rise and a commitment from the SEB to harmonise holiday and sick pay.

Nurses, midwives and other health workers have also yet to reach an agreement, with three unions – the JNA/Unite, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives – currently seeking the views of their members.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.