Both the Jersey Building and Allied Trades Employers Federation and the Jersey Chamber of Commerce have expressed annoyance at the high increase.Building trade employers are especially angry, as the industry today announced it is to increase wages by only 2.5 per cent for the year ahead to keep costs in the economy down.Jersey Building and Allied Trades Employers Federation president Mark Palfrey said the decision was taken as an attempt to lay down the gauntlet to the States and other employers to follow suit.However, he said that the manual workers’ pay award shows the government is only paying lip service to its pledges to try to control costs within the economy.The private sector has been lobbying the government for years to act to cut costs, get wage inflation under control and reduce the burden on taxpayers and business.Mr Palfrey said: ‘The States expects the private sector to act tough and goes soft when dealing with the public sector.
This year we decided unanimously to increase our wages by only 2.5%, this being the States’ declared inflation target.’The president of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Bob Hassell, said industry wanted to see savings on the States side.’I am disappointed that the States has once again breached the RPI figure in giving this 5.15 per cent award to the manual workers.
The decision shows the States are not listening to the private sector and there is no recognition of the need to bring in cost control,’ he said.However, Transport and General Workers official Nick Corbel warned that manual workers might well fight next year for a high pay award if the States introduced ‘user pays’ charges for essential services.’People are very concerned about the proposed new charges.
People other than my members, including many pensioners, have contacted me to say they are scared they will not be able to afford to pay the charges,’ he said.Of the 1,061 States manual workers and technicians who took part in the ballot, 816 voted to accept the 5.15 per cent one-year deal, with 243 against.The decision by the building trade to award only 2.5 per cent pay increases is designed to keep Jersey competitive, said Mr Palfrey.’We believe we are taking responsible steps to ensure the long-term competitiveness of our industry from the threat of competition from outside the Island.
We hope our actions will encourage other industries, and indeed States bodies, to follow suit, helping to keep Jersey a viable business centre,’ said Mr Palfrey.He said that in past years the industry had used historical data to assess future trends, with a view to matching wages with declared inflation.’This is a policy that has had the effect of maintaining inflation levels rather than reversing trends,’ he said.