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HCSA seals landmark 4% rise for Jersey doctors

A landmark two-year agreement secured with the help of the association’s negotiators has won an inflation-busting rise

HCSA negotiators have led Jersey hospital doctors to win a 4 per cent wage rise in a decisive break from the practice of following mainland pay awards.

The association played a lead role in securing the two-year deal months after clinicians rejected a 1 per cent non- consolidated payment in 2015 matching that offered in the UK.

Years of “pay restraint” for doctors in Jersey, where inflation rates remain higher than the mainland, have seen a big erosion in real-term wages.

But the 2015 offer was the last straw for many, and it was rejected amid a wave of discontent that eventually forced the employers into direct talks.

These continued throughout December, with the HCSA leading the staff side of the Joint Medical Staffs Negotiating Committee in negotiations with the Health and Social Services Board.

The culmination was a proposal that was considerably more generous than the UK settlement, including a 1 per cent consolidated rise for all grades from April- December 2015, and a further 3 per cent consolidated from January-December 2016. The pay deal terms reflect the States of Jersey financial year, which runs from January to January rather than April to April.

In recent weeks the news broke that the States Employment Board had endorsed the deal, which had already been given the thumbs up by the staff-side committee and employers.

Local negotiation committee (LNC) chairman Dr Andrew Woodward said the two-year package is the “beginning” of a process to halt the “steep decline in the real value of hospital doctors’ pay on Jersey.

“The current deal will be followed by discussions which should produce a three- year deal from 2017 which we hope will further correct the erosion in pay,” he said, adding that the outcome will strengthen engagement by hospital medical staff with plans to modernise services.

Direct pay talks will now continue with an agreement in principle setting a 12- month deadline on a deal up to 2020.

Discussions will also take place on a formal process for future direct negotiations with the aim of bringing them under Jersey’s public services collective bargaining machinery.

“The current pay settlement talks have established a foundation upon which this can be built,” said LNC co-chair David Lawrence.