Friday, 4 July 2014

Guest Reply by Senator Paul Routier on Seasonal Workers and Registration Cards

Senator Paul Routier has responded to my post on "A Seasonal Registration Card" and has very kindly permitted me to post the contents of his email.

The original post can be read here:

Guest Reply by Senator Paul Routier

Dear Tony,

Thank you for your email.

Before I outline in detail my thoughts, I would mention that what has been missed by the reporting is that the card costs £35 for a person who has worked in Jersey before. As is often the case with seasonal workers, they return over a number of years. Furthermore, it is not something that has to be paid more than once, i.e. a worker can work in Jersey this season and pay for their card, and then use the card again next season without further charge. This may not detract from the points you raise, but does seem worth mentioning and means that the impact in future years will be lesser.

Having said that, my first thought on reading your email is that it is difficult to treat some industries different to others - both for practical reasons and on principle.

Notably, seasonal staff work in a wide range of businesses service tourists, for hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, beach concessions, shops in town and elsewhere. It would involve some administration to decide precisely which business would attract the lower rate and allocate cards accordingly.  Furthermore, workers often arrive in Jersey for a season not being clear as to which business they will work for. That would present difficulties in administering differing fee levels. Of course, administrative difficulties can be resolved, but on principle, I question whether it is right that some short term workers should pay more than others.

Perhaps more fundamentally, however, the emphasis of our policies at the moment is very much one of supporting locally qualified people into work. While this is often challenging, the back to work programme offer considerable support, including financial incentives, for employers to take on local people. In this context, the registration fee is not inconsistent.

I hope this is a good insight into our thinking.

I would add that the policy was based on consultation, public engagement, and proper consideration. I would also emphasis, nevertheless, that comments and recommendations are always welcome and are seriously considered.

Thank you again for your time.

Kind Regards


Senator Paul Routier MBE


James said...

Furthermore, it is not something that has to be paid more than once, i.e. a worker can work in Jersey this season and pay for their card, and then use the card again next season without further charge

I hesitate to call Sen Routier a liar, but at least some of the cards that Population are issuing are end-dated. Mine (which is an ETW card) has a 3-month validity on it.

First question: if ETW cards are end-dated and Registered cards are not, why would you give a seasonal worker an open-dated card, but not someone who is resident? Surely it ought to be the other way round if the States are serious about prioritising getting local people back to work?

Second question: if both cards are end-dated, then what Sen Routier says above simply isn't true. A seasonal worker would need to re-apply for a card every time they started a job.

Phil Rondel asked Sen Routier for a reply on the rationale of end-dating cards on my behalf. That was 11 days ago. I am still waiting to see a response.

Unknown said...

Senator Routier has written a very reasonable email Tony. The problem is if you know the good Senator personally he works incredibly closly with his civil service advisors and generally does not contribute without their advice or indeed taking direction from them.

This is probably why, when being questioned in the states regarding the cost to the public of the data protection super injunction trial, he was out of his depth and was not able to give a half decent answer, he is not a convincing free thinking politician, and that is being kind.