Belfast Telegraph

Home News Education

Teachers to stage second wave of strike action at schools across Northern Ireland

Tuesday will see NASUWT union teachers take to picket lines for the second time as part of industrial action over pay and work conditions.

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

The NASUWT has published a list of all the schools which it says will be affected by the strike.

Ahead of its first wave of strike action in Belfast and Newtownabbey last year the union faced criticism for saying some schools would be affected by the strike when the schools themselves said there would be no impact.

The unions said the list of schools in Derry City, Strabane, Mid Ulster, Fermanagh and Omagh area affected by Tuesday's action would have staff on strike and it had no reason to believe the list was "inaccurate".

As part of the day of action, teachers will be gathering at a rally at St Columb’s Hall, in Derry at 11am.

Justin McCamphill, NASUWT national official for Northern Ireland, said: "No teacher takes strike action lightly and we regret the disruption the action will have on pupils and parents.

“Despite our attempts to resolve this dispute through negotiation, the attitude of the minister has left us with no other option than to continue our programme of strike action.

“Teachers are angry, frustrated and determined to send a loud and clear message that says value us and the children we teach.”

Earlier this month a second union, INTO, staged a half-day strike.

Unions have 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 last week.

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

The NASUWT claims teachers in Northern Ireland are among the lowest paid in the UK.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “It is with deep regret that we have been forced to continue with our rolling programme of strike action, but this is entirely the responsibility of the minister for education who has refused to accept that his attacks on teachers’ pay are damaging the sustainability and morale of the teaching profession.

“The minister has been given the money to pay the minimum 1% award to teachers for 2015/16, instead teachers are being asked to bear the brunt of the failure by the Executive to properly ring-fence education from budget cuts.

“Teachers deserve pay and working conditions which enable them to provide the world-class education service that our children and young people are entitled to.”

Chairperson of the management side representing the employers and the Department of Education, Education Authority chief executive Gavin Boyd added: "The employers held constructive talks with the teaching unions on 12 and 24 January. Both sides agreed to work together to produce an agreed agenda to provide the basis for intensive negotiations going forward.  A further joint meeting to complete this work is scheduled for 1st February so the decision by NASUWT to continue with planned strike action regardless on 31st January, is extremely disappointing and frustrating.

"The NASUWT will achieve nothing by this action beyond the loss of a further day’s pay for their teacher members and yet more disruption for schools, pupils and parents.

"These matters can only be resolved through dialogue. The employers are fully committed to engaging in intensive negotiations to address the issues connected with industrial action.

"We remain encouraged that further talks are scheduled for later this week and we are optimistic we can still work collaboratively with teacher representatives to establish an agreed agenda for negotiations. It is in this spirit, we urge the teaching unions to suspend all industrial action and to fully commit to negotiations as agreed.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph