A Tribunal Panel has sided with the States and enforced the pay offer that Guernsey and Alderney's teachers have been arguing against for more than a year.
Teachers represented by a number of unions had asked for higher pay increases compared to what the States had offered.
Pictured: The pay award given to the teachers following the Tribunal hearing yesterday.
However the Tribunal Panel has decided to award teachers the pay deal that Policy and Resources had offered them for 2022, 2023 and 2024.
P&R represents the States on all employee relation matters including pay awards.
They offered teachers a three year deal for 2022, 23 and 24 which included a 5% uplift to salaries for last year and £500 which would be consolidated into pay scales and become permanent and pensionable (backdated to 1 January 2022 with the applicable RPIX of 2.3%). For 2023 the deal included an uplift equal to RPIX as at 30 June 2022, which was 7%, for 2023, and an uplift equal to RPIX as at 30 June 2023, minus 1% for 2024. In the event that RPIX falls below 1% this year then teachers would be given a pay award of zero to avoid a pay cut.
The unions wanted 7% for 2022 and 2% above inflation for 2023 and 2024.
Pictured: The Tribunal yesterday was held at the Peninsula Hotel. Roy Lewis (centre) chaired the Tribunal, with lay members Jamie Roussel (centre left) and Nicolla Tanguy (centre right).
As both sides repeatedly failed to agree a pay deal for Guernsey and Alderney teachers, a Tribunal was convened yesterday to hear evidence, before a binding award was made.
Roy Lewis chaired the Tribunal, with lay members Jamie Roussel and Nicolla Tanguy.
The trio heard evidence from the teaching unions - represented by Collas Crill Partner Michael Adkins, and P&R - represented by Deputy David Mahoney.
After hearing evidence throughout yesterday, supplemented with further financial statements shared by both sides, the Tribunal panel decided that the pay offer made by P&R was fair and they awarded that to the teachers.
"...the issue is not a simple one," said the Tribunal panel in its judgement.
Pictured: P&R was represented by Deputy David Mahoney, Collette Falla; Director of Employment Relations, Glen Simons; States Lawyer, Stephen Glencross; HR Manager for Education, Sport and Culture, and Nick Hynes; Director of Education.
"Against the background of the pandemic, uncertainty over the impact of Brexit, and constraints on public finance, the Tribunal also understands why in 2022 SOG favoured the adoption of a common pay policy across the public sector at large. SOG considered that its three year offer was affordable and, it accepted, would deliver a degree of stability and certainty in public finances. This general strategy was both legitimate and justifiable."
P&R had argued that all other pay groups - including nurses - had accepted a three-year blanket pay offer. It refuted claims that teachers were leaving their jobs because of poor pay and said that concerns over the cost of living and housing prices in Guernsey was a matter for the States as a whole to resolve, not just P&R as the paymaster.
The unions had argued that pay erosion since 2008 left teachers pay lagging far behind what it should be, and that teachers were being forced into relative poverty.
They said that just because other pay groups had accepted the pay offer, it didn't mean it was fair.
The Tribunal panel again disagreed with the teachers, and sided with P&R.
Pictured: Teachers were represented by Michael Adkins of Collas Crill. He was joined by fellow Collas Crill Advocate Jess Burgess and union representatives Wayne Bates, Victoria Wallace, Paul Montague, Jerry Thomas, Helen Ball, and Scott Alexander.
"(the teaching unions) argued that the fact that the unions representing other public sector employees had accepted the three year offer was irrelevant under the Tribunal's TOR. We disagree.
"While it is true that the pay and other circumstances of those groups inevitably differed from each other and from that of teachers, such general acceptance by the unions representing those groups suggested that SOG's offer was not unreasonable."
The Tribunal panel did have sympathy for many of the teaching unions arguments, most notably the disputed claims of teachers being left in relative poverty by poor pay. The panel also said that P&R was wrong to dismiss the claims of teachers having to turn off their heating, or feed their children while they go hungry.
"The States offer of a lump sum of £500 in addition to the 5% for the pay year 2022 should be seen in the context of relative poverty. The £500 was designed to give a disproportionate benefit to those at the lower end of the pay scale. This cannot be dismissed as mere tokenism as it was envisaged as a consolidated amount, that is, to be included in the calculation of pensionable pay. Although in the tribunals view SOG was a little too ready to dismiss NCILG's case on relative poverty, its consolidated £500 lump sum in fact addressed the issue to a considerable extent."
Pictured: The pay award was made with two caveats.
In awarding the teachers the pay deal previously offered by P&R, the Tribunal panel reminded both sides that it is a legally binding decision and that it's decision is final.
P&R will have to cover the costs for holding the Tribunal but the teaching unions will have to cover the cost of preparing its case which will include any charges made by Collas Crill for the legal advice provided by Advocate Michael Adkins.
The panel will be dissolved in 28 days, but up until that time either party may ask for clarification on any of the points made in reaching its decision.
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