Private letter reveals Jersey government's attempts to end teachers' strikes over pay

Provided by anonymous source.
The four-page letter was sent out to all teachers on Thursday 11 January. Credit: Private letter obtained by ITV News

Teachers in Jersey will automatically be given the government's latest pay offer and then banned from taking part in any industrial action relating to pay until 2027 unless they opt out, according to a confidential letter obtained by ITV News.

The four-page document is addressed to all teachers directly from Deputy Elaine Millar, Vice Chair of the States Employment Board (SEB) - the group that has been leading government pay discussions with teaching unions.

It is dated Thursday 11 January and sets out the formal offer made to all teachers.

That is an 8% salary increase and a one-off payment of £1,000 in 2024, and wage rises in line with either inflation or 2%, whichever is greater, for 2025 and 2026.

The letter goes on to state that if a teacher wishes to accept these terms then they do not need to take any further action as it will be applied automatically.

It adds: "For clarity, those teachers who accept the offer would be unable to engage in any industrial action relating to pay in each of 2024, 2025, and 2026."

Anyone who wishes to reject the offer is asked to email the government directly by midday on Thursday 1 February 2024.

It explains: "For the avoidance of any doubt, unless you advise the employer that you do not wish to accept the offer by the above date, your acceptance of payment will be deemed to constitute an agreement in respect of the offer."

Any teachers who do not reject the offer and then take part in industrial action over pay before the end of 2026 would have the extra money reclaimed from their salary.

Those who do opt-out would stay on the 2023 pay structure until further discussions have taken place with the National Education Union (NEU) which is still in dispute with the government.

The letter adds: "For clarity, no payment in relation to the offer would be paid to those teachers who expressly do not accept. Their corresponding legal right to participate in industrial action in relation to pay would remain."

Jersey teachers in the National Education Union took part in three days of strike action in December. Credit: ITV Channel
Deputy Rob Ward has called the government's letter "nasty & cowardly" and is asking Deputy Elaine Millar to withdraw it immediately. Credit: @deputyrobward/X

Reacting to the letter, Marina Mauger from the NASUWT teaching union told ITV News: "I think the government are trying very hard to establish the viability of keeping schools open by ascertaining the number of teachers who will turn down the pay offer and may take strike action."

She adds current discussions with the government over terms and conditions are progressing "extremely well" but if NASUWT members felt disadvantaged then they would still have a right to take action under a workload dispute.

Commenting on the developments, Vice-chair of SEB, Deputy Elaine Millar, said: “We find ourselves in an unusual position where some teachers have accepted the pay offer for 2024-26 and some haven’t depending on their union membership.

"As we don’t hold information on union affiliations, we have written to ask teachers individually if they are accepting the pay offer.

“While we respect the rights of the teachers who have rejected the offer, we also want to ensure that we can implement the offer for those whose union has accepted it – and those who aren’t members of any union.”