Those behind pay rise error ‘should have been sacked’

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Last year the JEP revealed that 126 social workers and allied health professionals – including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, radiographers and pharmacists – were due to have their 2017 pay awards rescinded in April after a report found their wage increases were ‘inappropriate’.

While none will have to repay money, it is understood that workers will lose thousands in income and some will suffer financial hardship, including not being able to meet adjusted mortgage payments.

Last week it was revealed that a high-ranking States employee had left their job, subject to a compromise agreement, owing to their role in the debacle.

Compromise agreements involve paying a financial sum to an employee in return for them leaving the organisation and not making any future claims against the employer.

They can also include confidentiality clauses applying to the employee and also agreements so that the employer provides a good reference for the departing worker.

Marina Mauger, of the NASUWT union, said that the pay uplift debacle was an ‘absolute scandal’ and those responsible should have been subjected to disciplinary action.

‘The person responsible for it should have been sacked with immediate effect and not paid off with a compromise agreement,’ she said.

‘And it was not just that person, other people were involved too. People’s lives will be ruined because of this.

‘If they have received a substantial pay rise then they will have changed their financial planning.

‘So, they may have increased their mortgages, they may have bought a new car but now they are not going to be able afford these things. For someone to be paid off for this error rather than to face disciplinary action is a cop-out by the States.

‘And it is taxpayers’ money that is going to pay for the compromise agreement. The States have to realise it is the public’s money, not theirs. People would much rather see that money spent on things like education and health.’

It is understood that the pay-uplift debacle will cost the taxpayer £750,000.

In response to the pay-uplift reversals, 87 employees have decided to take out a formal grievance against the States Employment Board, which could lead to legal action.

Terry Renouf, president of JCSA Prospect which represents civil servants, confirmed that his union was representing allied health workers affected by the affair.

He said that the matter could eventually be referred to the Island’s courts, but declined to comment any further at this stage.

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