Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland teachers to strike again despite 'constructive' talks

By Rebecca Black

A third teachers' strike is set to take place next week, despite "constructive" talks having taken place between unions and management.

Members of the largest teachers' union in Northern Ireland, the NASUWT, will take part in walkouts on Tuesday, January 31.

It is the union's second strike action and will affect schools in the west of Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month a second union, INTO, staged a half-day strike. The industrial action comes after a row between the unions and management over teachers' pay.

The unions rejected an offer of 0% for 2015/16 and 1% for 2016/17 and walked out of talks in October.

The talks restarted this month and negotiations took place between management and the unions on Tuesday.

In a joint statement, both sides described the meeting as "constructive".

"Management Side (representing the employers of teachers and the Department of Education) and the teaching unions held a further constructive meeting to discuss the issue of ongoing industrial action," they said.

"The sides exchanged position papers and have agreed to work together to produce an agreed agenda to provide the basis for intensive negotiations.

"A meeting to establish the agreed agenda is scheduled to take place on February 1 with further talks to follow."

However, the NASUWT yesterday confirmed that the second of its rolling strikes would proceed as planned next Tuesday.

These will affect schools across the Derry city, Strabane, Mid Ulster, Fermanagh and Omagh areas. Many of the striking teachers are set to attend a rally at St Columb's Hall in Derry at 11am.

Teachers and union officials are set to address those assembled.

The NASUWT took part in strike action in the Belfast and Newtownabbey areas on November 30. Some 77 schools were affected by the one-day walkout, with some having to close completely.

Members of two other Northern Ireland teaching unions - UTU and ATL - have voted for industrial action short of striking in response to the pay dispute.

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