Teachers in Northern Ireland are increasing their industrial action in the long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
In October last year all the teaching unions rejected the government’s latest pay offer which would have meant no salary increase for last year and a rise of 1% for 2016-17.
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) plan a strike for half a day on 18 January and say this will be the first in a series of stoppages. The NASUWT, the union which brought members in the Belfast and Newtownabbey areas out on strike one day last term, have said they will continue localised strikes with the next planned for the Derry City, Strabane, Fermanagh, Mid-Ulster and Omagh areas on 31 January. Meanwhile, the Ulster Teachers’ Union (UTU) has voted to step up industrial action short of striking. This will involve refusing to co-operate with inspections and builds on the current work-to-rule strategy.
Action thus far has restricted teachers’ participation in government pupil assessment schemes and in attending meetings after normal school hours.
The General Secretary of the UTU, Avril Hall-Callaghan, commented that
“sadly, members feel they have no alternative but to step up their industrial action in a bid to highlight their strength of feeling.”
Justin McCamphill, National Officer of the NASUWT in Northern Ireland, said
“The Minister has been given the money to pay teachers the minimum of 1% for 2015-16. It is nothing short of scandalous that he does not think that paying teachers is important. Teachers have been left with no choice but to stand up to such a contemptuous attitude.”
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in Northern Ireland is continuing its action short of a strike.
Meanwhile Peter Weir, the Education Minister has asked unions to reconsider action which he says is “not in the interests of children, schools or teachers themselves,” and says he is not in a position to improve on the pay offer.
Click here for a list of all integrated schools in Northern Ireland.
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