Here are the recent minutes of the Amos Group of Christian's Together in Jersey, which may be of interest to readers of this blog.
Who are we? One of the sections of Christians Together in Jersey. We look at social and political issues in Jersey in the light of the Christian gospel of good news for all.
Why Amos group? We take our name from the Old Testament prophet Amos, who had a vision of a society where "justice flows on like a river and righteousness like a never-failing torrent" (Amos 5:24) (and it is less of a mouthful than "The Social Responsibility Committee of Christans Together in Jersey"!)
The minutes do appear on their website - so are in the public domain - but are rather out of date at the moment, so here are the last two sets of minutes. There is an interesting note that they do not see the exemption of GST - from food - as a way forward, and I should note that I have changed my mind on that and am inclined to agree - provided the rate stays at 3% - but no comment has been made on exempting GST from electricity (a far simpler proposition as there is a single supplier, and far more beneficial given the huge increases in electricity rates this year effective people on the margins, such as elderly home owners not eligible for income support, but surviving on a pension alone).
AMOS GROUP of CHRISTIANS TOGETHER IN JERSEY
Minutes of meeting on Wed. Jan. 7th at 5.45 at Pastoral Centre, St. Thomas .
Present: Christine Le Marquand, Barbara Coram, Claire White, Adrian Pearce, Ed Le Quesne
Apologies: Adrian Walton, Tony Bellows, Gill Carter
1. The opening prayer, on Epiphany, was led by Adrian Pearce
2. It was decided to invite Advocate Tim Hanson to a future meeting to explain some of the issues he has found in dealing with cases of child care in Jersey and where changes are needed.
3. To meet its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the child, a draft child employment law has been produced which tries to set out a possible law.
It is aimed at young people under 16. Its main points are
• Children are not allowed to carry out paid employment if they are 12 years or younger.
• Children cannot work at all during school hours or unsocial hours – before 6 am or after 8 pm. They cannot work for more than five days in a week.
• Children must have enough breaks and time off. If approved, the law would give them at least one 30 minute break if they work for more than four and a half hours.
• Children must also have two consecutive weeks off work every year – and this must be in a school holiday.
We hope this law is seen as a safety backup because in general good parents should make the decisions about what their children should undertake. Responses are needed by 27th Feb so ELeQ will prepare a draft response before our Feb. meeting. The full paper is on
4. Following Ian Gorst's election as Social Security minister and the controversy about the income support system, it was agreed to send him a letter of support but urging that some form of personal contact was built into the system as many elderly people can't cope with an entirely paper based system.
5. ELeQ introduced the Transition Towns handbook. Started just 2 years ago at Totnes in Devon, it brings together the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change and the need to work towards more resilient and diverse local systems. It builds on ideas already put forward by genuine Jersey, Fairtrade and other groups and needs a core group to take it forward. Possibly the One World Group could take it up. Well worth further consideration, the book only arrived the day before. .
6. Issues for 2009 will emerge in the next few weeks but we do look to a tenancy law, an ombudsman, a scheme on redundancy, more consumer protection, an energy policy, a discrimination law and take up the living wage campaign. We also await responses on Sunday trading, gambling control and new directions in health care for which consultation ended long since..
7. We hope that GST will not be removed from food. It introduces more complexity, especially for hotels as Claire pointed out. Instead an increase in income support is much better targeted..
8. Dates of future meetings Weds. Feb. 4th, March 4th, April 1st, May 6th
9. The Grace was said by all at 6.45
Ed Le Quesne 7 / 1 / 09
AMOS GROUP of CHRISTIANS TOGETHER IN JERSEY
Minutes of meeting on Wed. Feb. 4th at 5.45 at Pastoral Centre, St. Thomas .
Present: Christine Le Marquand, Barbara Coram, Claire White, Adrian Walton, Adrian Pearce, Ed Le Quesne
Apologies: Tony Bellows, Gill Carter, Martyn Shea.
1. Opening prayer was from the Methodist Prayer book for 08/09
2. The draft response to proposed child employment law, sent round earlier, was approved with a couple of extra comments. The final response is at the end of these minutes.
3. A letter has been sent to Ian Gorst re income support system and some form of personal contact by staff with claimants, but no response has yet been received.
ELeQ has been asked to be a lay member of the Scrutiny Panel on the new Income Support system by chairman Geoff Southern and will discuss the possibility next Tuesday Meetings are fortnightly 12 - 2 on Tuesdays.
4. Deputy Sean Power did not arrive so this is left for another day.,
5. Deputy Anne Pryke and Louise Magris from the environment dept have both agreed to attend our March meeting. Some questions we would like to ask include
How much investigation is going into using the plentiful resources of tidal, solar and wind energy around our Island?
How much use is being made of eco-active?
Are tax breaks or grants going to be made for house insulation, lot insulation etc to promote energy efficiency more noticeably
What is being done to promote energy efficiency, by making sure unwanted lights and computers are switched off when not needed.
What is being done to encourage allotments on unused farm land?
What about the cycle network toe encourage people out of their cars?
Is there any move to promote the Transition Town initiative, linking peak oil and climate change
What effort is being made for recycling, Jersey still invests too little in the facilities
Are we locked into the incinerator contract
Will the population decrease automatically with the downturn in the economy or does it need active control?
Is the Waterfront plan dead and buried and will the area be used for leisure or housing?
We look forward to what they have to say.?
6. ELeQ said that the CTJ Housing Trust are looking for two new Trustees. Several suggestions were made, which he will follow up.
7. One World Group AGM will be on Thurs. March 26th at St. Martin Public Hall. Ian Gorst will speak.
8. Dates of future meetings Weds. March 4th, April 1st, May 6th
9. The Grace was shared at 6.45 and some members went off to Alpha course classes
Ed Le Quesne 4 / 2 / 09
Draft Child Employment Law:
The Amos Group of Christians Together in Jersey has considered the draft child employment law set out in the recently published paper.
1. We agree that it should be aimed at children of less than 16.
2. • Children are not allowed to carry out paid employment if they are 12 years or younger. The main area of difficulty here is children helping with their parents in activities like farming, fishing or shops. It is right that there should be a backstop in law for parents who make very unreasonable demands on their children but the law should not bbe used to stop the occasional assistance in return for pocket money.
3 • Children cannot work at all during school hours or unsocial hours – before 6 am or after 8 pm. The restrictions on hours of employment in a day and a week as set out in article 4 seem reasonable,i.e
(1) A child shall not be employed −
(a) on any school day, for more than 2 hours;
(b) in any week during a school term, for more than 12 hours.
(2) A child aged under 15 years shall not be employed −
(a) on any day which is not a school day, for more than 7 hours;
(b) in any week during a school holiday, for more than 25 hours.
(3) A child aged 15 years shall not be employed −
(a) on any day which is not a school day, for more than 8 hours;
(b) in any week during a school holiday, for more than 35 hours.
(4) For the purposes of this Article −
(a) any reference to a week during a school term includes a week in which a school term begins or ends;
(b) any week that that is not a week during a school term is a week during a school holiday.
4. When it says that children shall not be employed on more than 5 days a week, it seems to indicate that school is not work, or there would be no Saturday job in term time.!
5. • Children must have enough breaks and time off so article 6 seems reasonable. i.e.
(1) In each period of 24 hours, a child shall have a rest period of at least 14 consecutive hours.
(2) Where a child works for more than 41/2 hours in a day, the child shall be entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of at least 30 minutes.
(3) In each period of one year, during a school holiday, a child shall have a rest period free of work of at least 2 consecutive weeks. This again seems reasonable. A child in full-time education as they must be up to 16, should not be working every school holiday.
We hope this law is seen as a safety backup because in general good parents should make the decisions about what their children should undertake.
We realise that it is difficult to monitor when children have jobs withtwo or three different employers, but on the whole parents should be monitoring this.
Ed Le Quesne
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