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'Tsunami' of initiatives causing despair across teaching profession, union warns

Teachers are drowning under a "tsunami" of initiatives, a union in Northern Ireland has said.

Salaries are not accounting for an astounding increase in workload, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) warned.

Despair and resentment is building up across the profession, senior trade unionist Dorothy McGinley told a conference in Belfast.

She said: "There's a general mood that our job just isn't worth the grief anymore.

"We're doing far more than we've ever done in terms of paperwork. We're held accountable for every single thing, it would seem.

"We're juggling six reading groups and five maths groups in ever growing class sizes. At the same time our pay is decreasing."

Teachers began industrial action this year by withdrawing their co-operation from the Education and Training Inspectorate.

This was followed by a series of half-day strikes since January.

Ms McGinley said there was widespread frustration.

"Teachers in the north were drowning under a tsunami of initiatives including targets, monitoring and evaluation."

She added: "This is essentially now leading to a build-up of resentment, despair and anger right across the teaching profession."

She told delegates to the union's 2017 Congress that with the increase in National Insurance, pension contributions and inflation, teachers have essentially lost 15% of pay over the past few years.

She said this was equivalent to working an additional six to eight weeks for free.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said: "Management side and trade union side have agreed to talk about workload issues and have established a working group to take this forward."

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