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Northern Ireland teachers to picket school gates in pay dispute, say unions

By Rebecca Black

Published 26/10/2016

Two more teaching unions have announced they will launch industrial action after a breakdown in negotiations over pay. File image
Two more teaching unions have announced they will launch industrial action after a breakdown in negotiations over pay. File image

Two more teaching unions have announced they will launch industrial action after a breakdown in negotiations over pay.

The largest teachers union in Northern Ireland, the NASUWT, announced last week that its members would commence strike action on a date to be confirmed in November.

Now the Irish National Teachers Union (INTO) and the Ulster Teachers Union (UTU) have announced their members will mount school gate pickets on November 8.

However, they have stopped short of strike action.

Talks conducted between the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland - which represents all five teaching unions - and the Education Authority ended after 13 months last week when the unions walked out.

The employers offered no rise for last year and a rise of 1% for 2016/17.

The unions have claimed their members are falling behind their counterparts in England and Wales.

In a joint statement yesterday, UTU and INTO said they were planning school gate pickets on November 8 to "raise awareness about the crisis".

The two unions said they have not ruled out strike action.

"The fact that teachers are prepared to picket the gates of their schools shows just how serious the situation has become. It is dire and we must ensure that parents appreciate the crisis in the education system in which they place their faith - and their children - every day," said Avril Hall Callaghan from the UTU.

"Those children are at the heart of everything teachers do and it is only because of this that teachers have kept the education system functioning to date. It has been running on little more than teacher goodwill for some time now.

"Teachers have been extremely patient in accepting below inflation increases for five years but the failure to award a cost of living rise at all for 2015/16 has been the straw to break the camel's back and teachers are quite rightly incensed at what they believe to be the exploitation of their goodwill to date."

The Education Authority did not respond to a request for comment.

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