Will the top earning civil servants also get 7.9% pay rise?

  • ITV reporter Will Tullis takes a closer look at the 7.9% pay rise offered by Jersey's government

One of the Government of Jersey's former advisors says it would be "wrong" for top-earning civil servants to receive the same 7.9% pay increase accepted by 3,500 government employees this week.

At one point or another, business consultant Kevin Keen has been at the helm of some of the island's biggest firms - including the likes of Jersey Post and Visit Jersey.

He was also contracted as a government consultant tasked with helping the then-States of Jersey save money.

Mr Keen told ITV News that now, during a cost of living crisis, is not the time for those with the most to be earning even more:

"It doesn't set a good example and nor is it affordable for those earning the most to accept pay increases at this time", he said.

"Top management [must] set the right example to the rest of the public sector and to the rest of the island".

This week civil servants in Jersey accepted a 7.9% pay rise, in a ballot that included about 3,500 government employees.

Employees who were members of the JCSA Prospect and Unite unions accepted the offer from the States Employment Board, which includes a review of terms and conditions.But questions remain over whether the highest-earning civil servants will also see this pay increase.

Suzanne Wylie is the top-earning civil servant on the island. She's reported to be on a salary of at least £250,000 a year. A 7.9% pay rise for her - if she were to receive it - would mean an extra £19,750 a year.

Suzanne Wylie has been in post as CEO of the Government of Jersey since February 2022. Credit: Government of Jersey

Ordinarily, the highest-earning civil servants negotiate pay separately in personal agreements.

ITV News understands pay rise negotiations for senior civil servants are ongoing.

Kevin Keen said it would be "wrong" for senior public sector figures earning over £100,000 to earn even more at this time. He said that the same salary rises aren't seen in the private sector in Jersey in the same way.

"The leaders of [public sector] organisations should set an example", Mr Keen said.

"If the example is that we need to be careful with taxpayers' money and save taxpayers' money then it's about walking the talk."

  • 'Their grocery bill will not have gone up by £25,000 a year': Business expert Kevin Keen - who has worked as a consultant for the Government of Jersey - is urging restraint for top earners.

The 7.9% pay rise accepted by civil servants amounts to a real-terms pay cut while inflation remains at 10.4%. This week's settlement is well below what unions originally demanded.In Guernsey last year, all civil servants - including those in senior positions - were awarded a 5% pay rise.

This comes as Jersey Police Association members on Friday (13 January) vote on whether to accept a 7.9% pay increase.

Negotiations between teachers' unions and governments are ongoing. The NASUWT union, which represents some teachers on the Island, has called for a 15.4% pay rise for members.