Belfast Telegraph

Teaching union claims members were filmed on Belfast strike

Questions: Justin McCamphill
Questions: Justin McCamphill

By Staff Reporter

A union has hit out after teachers at a north Belfast primary school claimed they had been subject to 'surveillance' during an industrial dispute.

The allegation centres on St Patrick's Primary School at Pim Street, off Belfast's Antrim Road, which has been involved in strike action in recent months.

Their trade union, the NASUWT, claimed its members at the school were filmed and photographed while on strike last November.

NASUWT organiser Justin McCamphill told the BBC: "These allegations are very serious and are having a detrimental impact on our members' mental health and well-being.

"It's very important that those questions are answered.

"It is intolerable that trade union members who would be taking part in industrial action would be put under surveillance and it's important that we establish what all the facts are around this."

The Catholic Council for Maintained School (CCMS) which oversees the school, has said it will investigate the teachers' concerns.

"CCMS wishes to assure all of its teachers that no such surveillance would ever be commissioned by the CCMS or indeed by any Board of Governors," it said.

"However, in this instance we recognise that these particular teachers hold a genuine concern that someone may have been conducting some level of surveillance on them."

Local Sinn Fein MLA and former Stormont Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin described the surveillance allegations as "shocking".

"If true, that is a sinister and possible illegal development which is understandably a cause for huge concern for those involved," she said.

"CCMS and the school board of governors have announced plans for an independent review of the shocking allegations.

"They are also potentially a matter for the PSNI and must be rigorously investigated."

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