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Union of Northern Ireland head teachers to consider strike action

By Rebecca Black

A fifth Northern Ireland Teachers' union is set to consult on whether to call its members out on strike.

The announcement by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) comes after two unions - the NASUWT and INTO - have carried out strike action, and two other unions - UTU and ATL - are waging action short of strikes.

Paul McClenaghan, president of NAHT Northern Ireland, said its members will only consider industrial action as a last resort.

"The failure of the employers to find a solution to the long running dispute with the other teaching unions, coupled with the recent unreasonable actions of the ETI, have resulted in pressure on school leaders that is unprecedented and intolerable, and we call on the government to act," he said.

"Despite our representations to the Education Minister, the Education Department and employers, the support required to address the situation has not been provided.

"NAHT has therefore resolved to take all necessary and appropriate action to resolve the situation. All NAHT members will be consulted on what action to take, up to and including industrial action if necessary. NAHT do not consider the prospect of industrial action lightly, and as in everything we do, care and respect for pupils must be at the forefront of our approach."

The NASUWT has so far held two one-day strikes, while INTO held a half-day strike in January.

Education Minister Peter Weir has urged unions not to engage in strikes.

Negotiations between unions and management, which ended after 13 months with no agreement, restarted last month. The unions rejected a pay offer of 0% for 2015/16 and 1% for 2016/17.

Belfast Telegraph


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