Efforts still being made to end teacher pay dispute

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Teachers Strike in the Royal Square during a protest this summer. Picture: EMILY STUBBS. (37038855)

DISCUSSIONS are continuing with teaching unions to find a solution to the ongoing pay dispute, the States Employment Board has said, as NEU members plan to walk out for three days next month.

Andy Jehan, vice-chair of the SEB, spoke about the progress of negotiations when questioned by the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel yesterday.

He said: “We’re very conscious of the challenges we still have with the teaching unions.

“It’s frustrating that we offered binding arbitration way back in June because we felt that was the best way where someone independent could listen to both sides of the argument.

“We’re disappointed that they haven’t taken up that opportunity and we have further talks planned this week with both of those trade unions.”

A separate statement issued by the government yesterday confirmed that “dialogue continues to reach a way forward with the trade unions”.

It added that the government would “not be providing a comment on the nature of the discussions”.

The NASUWT announced last week that it would postpone its action short of strike action as talks were under way.

Jersey’s other main teaching union, the NEU, has confirmed that its members will walk out on 12, 13 and 14 December.

The NEU had initially scheduled three days of strikes for mid-November, but postponed this action as a “goodwill gesture” as a result of the disruption caused by Storm Ciarán.

Both unions have been seeking an improved pay deal above the 7.9% offered by the government.

The NEU previously said it refused arbitration because teachers in Guernsey had “a below inflation pay award imposed” on them following third-party talks.

Head teachers had also been part of the pay dispute, but a settlement was agreed during October.