Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Three-day schools strike goes ahead

A planned three-day strike by thousands of Ulster classroom assistants will go ahead tomorrow, it was confirmed today despite an increased pay offer by the Education and Library Boards.

Schools were again bracing themselves for closures from tomorrow after the education panel at public service union Nipsa voted to recommend members to reject the latest offer.

Union members are expected to meet on Wednesday and Thursday to decide whether to accept the deal.

After a one day strike last week, which shut special schools and forced many primary schools to close at lunchtime, management and unions met on Friday for talks during which a fresh offer was made.

The union said the new offer amounted to a one-off payment of just over £2,000 to each of 7,000 classroom assistants to cover reduced hours and the loss of a special needs allowance.

In a letter to members, the union said the new offer was the same as the old with the exception of an additional £15m to cover a one-off payment.

Janette Murdock, a member of the Nipsa strike committee, today branded the fresh offer as "nothing more than a pay-off" and said that it had only served to make members more determined to continue industrial action.

"We have recommended that members reject this offer," she explained.

"The strike will go ahead tomorrow. There's no reason to call it off as they haven't given us anything that would make us do that. The mood in today's meeting was one of anger and everyone was just cross at management's position."

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