The threat of strike action by more than 1,100 Jersey States Manual and Parish workers has been lifted after agreement was reached between Unite, the Channel Island’s largest union and the States Employment Board (SEB).
The employer’s moves to impose far reaching changes to workers’ terms and conditions, including a strings attached pay increase contravened the 50 year old manual workers joint council agreement and sparked a ballot for industrial action at the end of June.
The union’s members - who keep Jersey running from gardeners and school caretakers to refuse workers and Parish health care assistants - voted overwhelmingly in favour for strike action by a 73.3 per cent majority, while 87.4 per cent had voted for action short of a strike.
Unite regional officer Nick Corbel said: “Our members have shown real resolve in standing up to the employer’s attempts to bulldoze their hard fought for terms and conditions.
“The employer’s proposed changes to pay, allowances for overtime, stand-by and shift working would have caused financial hardship to our members. Unite believes that the imposition would have breached the 50 year old manual workers joint council agreement.
“Securing the right to negotiate on behalf of our members and to ballot them on changes to their terms and conditions, rather than the SEB imposing its plans, is a huge victory for common sense.
“This agreement means that our members, who play such a vital role to keep Jersey running, will now get the chance to have their say when it comes to their future.”
Unite will continue in talks with the employer to set the terms of reference for the proposals and will then look to ballot its members on these and the revised terms of the four per cent pay increase.
Notes to editors:
Talks between Unite and the States Employment Board under the auspices of the JACS resulted in the following being agreed:
- Any employer proposals to change existing terms would be negotiated with Unite
- The Parishes will be involved in the process
- Terms of reference on ‘modernisation’ would be agreed by the manual workers joint council
- The four per cent pay increase as of 1 January 2014 will no longer be dependant on a binding agreement on modernisation
- Members will be balloted on proposed changes to existing terms once negotiations have been completed
For further information contact Nick Corbel on 07797 742 913 or Chantal Chegrinec, Unite communications officer, on 07774 146 777
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.42 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey