Teachers and headteachers protest in Royal Square as Jersey schools closed in pay row

  • Hundreds of Jersey teachers and headteachers are protesting outside the States Building

Jersey schools are closed today (12 September) as teachers go on strike in a continuing row over pay and workload.

Members from the National Education Union and the National Association of Head Teachers are walking out as they do not believe the 7.9% pay rise offer on the table is satisfactory.

They say their members have suffered an 8.8% real-terms pay cut since 2008 and that the sector is experiencing a recruitment and retention crisis.

However, the States Employment Board is standing firm, with their 7.9% pay offer having already been accepted by thousands of other public sector workers.

General Secretary of NAHT, Paul Whiteman, said: "The fact that this will be the first time our members on the island have ever gone on strike demonstrates that this isn’t a decision they have taken lightly.

"However, they feel they have no other option left open to them to secure a breakthrough right now after hours of talks failed to secure any significant improvements to the pay offer."

Nick Childs, Senior Regional Officer for the NEU, added: "The SEB have once again failed to offer anything new despite repeated calls on them to address the crisis in teacher pay, recruitment and retention.

“Teachers will be bitterly disappointed that they have once again been forced to take strike action and we call upon the States Assembly to the Government to come back to the negotiating table with an inflation matching offer or face further escalation of strikes.”

The government says the average teacher in Jersey earns £56,163, with allowances on top up to an additional £18,123. Teachers also remain on a final salary pension scheme. Vice-Chair of the States Employment Board, Constable Andy Jehan, commented: “The 7.9% was agreed by the States Assembly and was based on what we could afford, while also considering the increase in inflation and the rise in the cost of living that everyone is facing.

“Any addition beyond 7.9% would have to be found from other public services and that includes schools.”

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