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Public sector strike threat in Jersey

Public sector workers in Jersey have voted for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Civil service members of the Prospect union voted by 87% majority to reject the States Employment Board’s pay offer of 0%.

Prospect say they support the States modernisation programme which is part of a £145million cost-cutting plan.

But they say, rather than work together on the issue, the States is announcing arbitrary cuts and what it calls a random redundancy programme.

We were fully engaged at every level with the modernisation process and had trained representatives to evaluate jobs to ensure best value. It was a planned process designed to deliver better value to tax payers but that has been ruined by the States failure to engage in pay negotiations and the imposition of an arbitrary cuts regime without any discussion or thought about the effect on jobs and services.

– Bob King, Prospect

States members expenses revealed

The senior politicians who make up Jersey's Council of Ministers met for the first time today since being elected to high office.

And while their focus is on their priorities for the next three and a half years, we also now know how much money the previous set of ministers spent on travel and entertainment.

In the past five years, that bill has risen from around ten thousand pounds to more than seventy-five thousand pounds.

But why do they need to spend all that money, and who's been racking up the biggest bill?

In 2008, the total spent on ministerial overseas travel and entertainment was £9,723.43. That could be seen as modest compared to 2011, when the total had risen to £61,684.15.

It fell in 2012 to just over £42,000 (£42,190.60) but by last year (2013) the grand total was £75,494.71.

The biggest spenders, were the Chief Minister, Ian Gorst whose travel expenses totalled £20,332, Assistant Minister, Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, £23,000 and former Treasury Minister, Philip Ozouf at nearly £17,000.

£75,000 may sound like a lot of taxpayers money for hotels, airfares and entertaining, but, ministers say that if Jersey is to punch its weight on the World business stage, they need to spend money wisely to encourage more investment.

Click here to read our previous article with details of top politicians expenses.

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Senior Jersey politician welcomes expenses transparency

One of Jersey's top politicians says he is happy for the public to have a detailed look into his expenses claims.

It comes after figures were released last week showing ministerial expenses have quadrupled over the past few years.

Senator Philip Ozouf says he has nothing to hide:

I'm happy for the public to look at every single one of the invoices that I have ever filed for return for me to be reimbursed by, I'm very happy with that, there should be no secret, I have an open register of everybody that I meet.

Sometimes it is sensitive, there is only limited times where I don't say for political or diplomatic reasons who I've been meeting.

– Senator Philip Ozouf

Senator Ian Gorst due to reveal choices for Cabinet of Ministers

Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst will reveal his preferred choices for ministerial jobs today, ahead of States vote on Thursday.

The positions aren't up to him, however and will need to be passed by vote in the States Chamber on Thursday.

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Challenge to Jersey's General Election

Two men, who failed to win seats in Jersey's government are challenging the General Election - saying it's been marred by 'high levels of electoral irregularities and manipulations'.

Deputy Nick Le Cornu and Gino Risoli both failed to get enough votes in St Helier District 1 on October 15th and will today ask the Royal Court to declare it void and call a new election.

It's been claimed that one of ten signatories on Deputy-elect Scott Wickenden's nomination paper lives in St Helier District No.2, not District No.1 where he was elected.

Deputy-elect Scott Wickenden on the left

In a statement, sent to the media this morning, Deputy Le Cornu said he was fulfilling his mandate as Deputy by challenging the way things have been done in the past.

“Of particular concern to us is that Scott Wickenden was allowed to stand as a candidate and end up being elected a Deputy in District No.1, when his nomination form was defective by virtue of not having 9 seconders, all capable of voting for him in that election. It is inconceivable that the checking process by the Parish of St Helier failed to spot this most fundamental of errors, that one of his seconders was registered in District No.2. Checking is supposed to occur before the nomination meeting, on the night and double checked subsequently. This is gross negligence by Scott Wickenden and on the part of the Constable and Parish of St Helier. “The onus is entirely on the candidate to present a valid nomination form at the Nomination Meeting. The absence of 9 seconders on the nomination form invalided the candidate and his election. The candidate only has himself to blame if he cannot understand the fundamental requirements of the election law. These are spelled out in the instructions attached to every nomination paper obtained from a Parish hall. "Election disputes are inherent to elections. Challenging an election, its conduct or its results, should however not be perceived as a reflection of weakness, but proof of the strength, vitality and openness of the political system. The right to vote would be merely abstract if the right to sue to enforce it was not guaranteed in law.”

– Deputy Nick Le Cornu
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