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Pay in Northern Ireland

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Pay and Pay Progression Update - 13 September 2013

A Pay Claim for Teachers in Northern Ireland 2013/14 has been submitted for teachers in Northern Ireland whose pay has been frozen since September 2010. The NASUWT believes that a significant above-inflation increase is required to ensure that teaching remains competitive with other graduate professions and attracts and retains highly qualified and committed teachers.

The two-year pay freeze was imposed for 2011 and 2012, except for those earning £21,000 or less, who received an increase of at least £250 a year. The current salary scales for teachers in Northern Ireland, in the resources section to the right, therefore remain the same as they were in 2010. 

The Union's latest submission calls on the Minister for Education to reject the British Government’s proposed average 1% pay cap for public service workers, including teachers, and makes the case for a substantial pay award for all teachers and principals from September 2013. A copy of the NASUWT pay claim and a Bulletin on pay, industrial action, Computer Based Assessments, pensions and more can be found at the top-right of this page.

Pay Progression Update - 13 September

A bulletin can be found at the top-right of this page which provides advice on pay progression and an update on the Department for Education's statement that teachers’ pay progression scheduled for 1 September 2013 cannot take place until a decision has been made on the teachers’ pay award for 2013/14. 

On 11 September, the Department of Education (DE) wrote to all Chief Executives of Education and Library Boards (ELBs) and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) advising that the Minister has now secured approval for a separate pay remit to enable teachers’ pay progression payments to be made in time for their October pay packets. This is as a direct result of the strong protest made by the NASUWT about the letter issued by the DE in August, which blocked teachers’ pay progression on the spurious grounds that the teachers’ pay award had yet to be determined.

Only the NASUWT raised concerns about this unacceptable decision. The Union considered it was inappropriate for hardworking teachers, already enduring pay cuts, increasing workload and job insecurity, to now have the pay progression to which they are entitled blocked.

If there is any attempt at school level to withhold pay progression as a result of the Department’s letter of 20 August, then members must make their principal aware of the letter sent by the DE on 11 September reversing this decision. Any teacher who is denied pay progression or access to the necessary paperwork to enable them to progress to the upper pay spine should report this to the NASUWT immediately.

Please ensure that you email the NASUWT Northern Ireland Centre on rc-nireland@mail.nasuwt.org.uk if problems arise in your school.


Teachers' Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee (Schools)

The Teachers' Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee (Schools) was established to reach agreement on teachers' pay and conditions of service of teachers in grant aided schools in Northern Ireland.

On 27 November 2007 the NASUWT submitted directly to the Education Minister a claim for substantial improvements in pay and conditions of service to secure parity with teachers in England and Wales. Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The NASUWT has explored every option to seek to avoid industrial action but for years we have met nothing but delay, prevarication or failure to respond.

“It is scandalous that the commitment and effort put in by the dedicated teaching workforce in Northern Ireland still does not attract the level of reward and conditions of service benefits which are the norm for their teaching colleagues elsewhere. That the NASUWT has had no option but to conduct a national ballot to enforce these provisions rather than Ministers and Employers taking the initiative is equally scandalous.

“Teachers require working conditions to enable them to continue to raise standards. Failure to address the needs of teachers is equally a failure to address the needs of the pupils.”


NASUWT Industrial Action

Notices to employers of the action to be taken and the action instructions to members were issued at the beginning of January 2009. The action taken by NASUWT members has succeeded in putting in place measures that have now become the normal working practices in most schools. Further NASUWT national action short of strike action instructions were issued on 18 November to take effect from 1 December 2011. These practices have had a real impact on reducing teacher workload. It is, therefore, important that these gains are consolidated. 

In 2012, the NASUWT held a formal meeting with the Education Minister, John O’Dowd MLA, to discuss the Union’s national trade dispute and the actions needed to resolve the dispute. The meeting was cordial and generally positive, with the Minister open to discussing all aspects of the NASUWT trade dispute: pensions, pay, conditions of service, workload and job loss. The Union has written to the Minister since the meeting reiterating its concerns and setting out the next steps for resolution of the dispute. 

New action short of strike action instructions began on 26 September 2012 and can be found on the NASUWT industrial action website at www.nasuwt.org.uk/IndustrialAction.


Pay Scales

The current Teachers Pay Scales (Northern Ireland) is available in the 'Resources' box on the top right hand side of this page. Teachers' Pay Scales and information on Teaching Allowances are set out in Circular 2010/19 Teachers' Pay and Allowances from 1 September 2010 (new window). The Employers have also issued further Guidance on Teaching Allowances (new window). The Union has also produced advice concerning Pay and Career Progression outlining the current position.  A two-year pay freeze has been imposed for 2011 and 2012, except for those earning £21,000 or less, who will receive an additional payment of at least £250 for 2012. 


Threshold and Upper Pay Spine Progression

The Employing Authorities have issued a threshold letter to schools that outlines the threshold arrangements from September which included the following guidance and forms:

  • A Quick Guide 
  • Guidance Notes 
  • Application Form 
  • Principal's Record form 
  • Feedback to Teachers form
  • TR268 (UPS1) 
  • Handbook for Threshold Assessment

They also issued a letter to schools outlining the Upper Pay Scale (UPS) progression arrangements from September which included:

  • Guidance on UPS2 and application form 
  • TR268 (UPS2)
  • Guidance on UPS3 and application form
  • TR268 (UPS3) 

All of the Threshold and UPS Pay Scale progression documents are available in the Teachers pay and conditions (new window) section of the DENI website.


Performance Management

The Performance Review and Staff Development (PRSD) Scheme (new window), effective since 1 September 2004, applies to principals and teachers employed in grant-aided schools in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Education has also produced PRSD Guidance for Governors and Principals (new window).


Family Friendly Rights

Documents outlining family friendly rights for teachers can be found in the Leave of absence (new window) section of the DENI website, including:

  • maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave and pay;
  • additional paternity leave and additional statutory paternity pay for teachers from 3 April 2011;
  • flexible working and job share arrangements;
  • career breaks;
  • teacher attendance and sick pay.

The Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI) provide more general information and guidance on work and family rights for Working Parents and Carers (new window) and further guidance on pregnancy and maternity rights is available from DELNI in the booklet Pregnancy and Maternity Rights in the workplace (new window).

The NASUWT produces guidance for members with children on the provisions for maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave. The guidance also contains information on rights to time off for family and domestic reasons.

Advice on the legal requirements in assessing risks in relation to new and expectant mothers’ job activities is set out in the Health and Safety Executive webpages for New and Expectant Mothers at Work (new window).

Members have the right to apply to work flexibly where they have:

  • children aged under 17;
  • disabled children aged under 18; or
  • carer responsibilities

The NASUWT has produced general guidance on requesting Flexible working

The NASUWT, through the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council, successfully negotiated the opportunity for teachers to participate in salary sacrifice schemes for childcare vouchers/benefits, cycles for work and mobile phones. Information on the Salary Sacrifice Scheme are set out in Circular 2006/27 Teachers' Pay and Allowances from 1 September 2006 and 1 September 2007 (new window).


Temporary workers and substitute teachers

Any teacher taking on a temporary or ‘fixed-term’ contract should consult the Union.


Further information or assistance

Members needing further information or assistance should contact the Northern Ireland National Centre.

Northern Ireland Pay Claim

NI Representatives Bulletins

Log-in required to view full list of bulletins.

Derisory 1% Pay Offer Rejected, Northern Ireland, February 2014 17/02/2014 15:46

On 12 February a ‘Pay Negotiation Team’, made up of representatives of four of the five teaching unions and the employers, met in an attempt to agree a pay award for 2013/15.

Northern Ireland: CCEA Assessment 24/01/2014 9:36

Latest news and information about CCEA assessments, pay and redundancies.

Action on CCEA Assessments Continues, Northern Ireland Bulletin, November 2013 22/11/2013 10:36

Bulletin for members in Northern Ireland

Adverse Weather Bulletin, Northern Ireland, November 2013 22/11/2013 8:55

Advice on potential school closures during periods of bad weather.