NASUWT lays down gauntlet on cutbacks and teacher pay row
The largest teachers' union in Northern Ireland - which has staged two strikes in the past five months - has warned it will continue to "vigorously oppose" any further cuts to the education budget.
Just 48 hours before MLAs are due to meet to attempt to form a new Executive, the NASUWT said the next Education Minister must "engage directly" with it to resolve disputes over pay, pensions and conditions of service.
The motion debated at the union's annual meeting held at the Stormont Hotel in east Belfast on Saturday also called for improved funding for schools to ensure they are not hit by employer increases to pensions and National Insurance contributions. The NASUWT has organised two walkouts in recent months following a breakdown in negotiations with management over pay and conditions. Further action in other areas of Northern Ireland has been threatened this year.
The NASUWT, along with the four other teachers' unions, rejected a pay offer last October of 0% in 2015/16 and 1% in 2016/17. NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates warned that unless the profession was treated with respect and education was funded properly, then more teachers would quit.
"The NASUWT condemns the continued assault on the education budget, which will have a deeply damaging impact on the educational outcomes of children and young people," she said.
"Despite providing a vital public service, teachers have faced year-on-year real terms pay cuts. In order to continue to provide high-quality public education for every child, we need a teaching workforce which is well-paid and well-resourced, or else serving teachers will continue to leave the profession."
Justin McCamphill, NASUWT national official Northern Ireland, added: "Teachers are dedicated professionals who are committed to the children and young people they teach, but they are seeing cuts to their pay, increases in their working hours and reductions in school budgets.
"The incoming administration must engage to resolve our dispute and respond constructively to our request for an improvement to its derisory pay offer."