NEU Says Teacher Pay Talks Are At 'Breaking Point'

The NEU has set a deadline of today for the States Employment Board to give it details of a promised fresh offer.

Union leaders have described negotiations as 'at breaking point'.

The NEU says it gave the SEB until last Friday to accept the terms of a settlement.

Channel 103 understands that to include increase of RPI +2.1% for 2020, and a six point list of education reforms. 

It says the reply from the employer has been that it is not in a position to reach such an agreement and that it would continue to work on a 'framework agreement'.

Regional Secretary Ian Stevenson has called it 'an attempt to dictate the terms of any pay award'.   

He says the SEB needs to take immediate steps to bring forward a viable offer today.  

Tomorrow teachers, who walked out of classrooms for eight days last month, will be asked if they want to take more strike action.

In a briefing for members, Mr Stevenson says:

"It is clear that whatever is being agreed in the (mediator) JACS talks by the employers representatives is not being agreed outside of it.  Alternatively, it is possible that the employer is seeking to delay reaching an agreement to test or break the resolve of NEU members taking strike action.  This is a common tactic of employers, with the aim of leaving members in a much weaker bargaining position, to then often be presented with a take it or leave it offer."

The government has released a statement from Deputy Chair of the SEB Constable Richard Buchanan:

"The States Employment Board is meeting again today to discuss the progress made to date and is very likely to authorise negotiators to make a further offer, along similar lines to that made to our civil servants in recent days. This would involve a higher offer, in exchange for sustainable savings and efficiencies that strengthen educational outcomes for our children and young people.

“We are inviting teachers and their unions to work with us to identify those efficiencies which, can then be shared with teachers from 1 January 2020. As well as resolving the pay dispute and ending disruption to education, we intend that this collaborative approach, involving teachers and unions at every step of the way, will help build trust and reinforce the value that we all place in our teachers.”

More talks between the SEB, NASUWT, NEU and JACS are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Meanwhile, States Chief Executive Charlie Parker has written to all teachers in Jersey 'to provide an update'.

"We have put forward the concept of a 50-50 ‘gain share’, whereby efficiencies and savings from educational reforms, which also contribute to improvements in educational outcomes, can be evenly divided between teachers (as higher pay) and the employer (as sustainable savings) for
all-round benefit. In this way, SEB expects to be able to offer a higher consolidated pay increase payable from 1 January 2020.

We are still negotiating the detail of the gain share arrangement, but central to our thinking is that this will provide a means by which everyone can contribute to educational reform in direct and active support of this Government’s unanimously-agreed Common Strategic Policy, a primary
focus of which is to put children first. I would invite you to contribute your own ideas on reforms that could generate efficiencies.

As the employer, SEB is committed to creating and maintaining an environment within which all teachers are able to deliver high education standards, and in which teachers feel valued and are supported and motivated to give of their best.

I recognise that this process has been difficult for all parties, and that the uncertainty over pay might have caused you worry and concern. We are committed to reaching an agreement, without further delay or disruption, which is sustainable and affordable, and we will continue to work to
achieve this end. This is an absolute priority for me, for the States Employment Board and, I believe, for teachers and your unions.
I will report on progress as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely,

Charlie Parker
Chief Executive and Head of the Public Service"

Read the full letter here

Channel 103 understands that the NASUWT has expressed its deep disappointment and dissatisfaction and opposition to the contents of the letter.

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