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The failure by the Northern Ireland Executive to offer a pay rise for this year to the teaching profession is tantamount to holding teachers in contempt, NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union has said.

At a time when teachers are also dealing with spiralling cost of living pressures due to rising prices for food, fuel and energy, it is of critical concern no pay offer has been made by the Northern Ireland Executive.

Unless a pay offer is made immediately, the Union will have no choice but to consult formally with its members on the next steps they wish to take, NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said. There has been no pay offer made to teachers for 2021/22, which should have been in place in September 2021.

In a letter to Minister for Education Michelle McIlveen, Dr Roach said:

“The situation regarding the pay of teachers in Northern Ireland is now of critical concern. It is with regret that I have to say that teachers in Northern Ireland are now lagging behind their counterparts elsewhere in the UK in terms of clarity regarding their pay, at a time when our members are facing significant cost of living pressures arising from rising food, energy and fuel prices, and the forthcoming rise to National Insurance.

“Pay remains a major issue of concern to NASUWT members, adding to their concerns over excessive workload, wellbeing and health and safety at work. As you will also be aware, teachers have worked tirelessly in maintaining the provision of education for all pupils in Northern Ireland, at significant cost to them in terms of their workloads, and despite the risks they have faced every day to their health and safety during the pandemic.

“Our members deserve better than further delay to the arrangements for making this year’s pay award. NASUWT members are not prepared to continue to accept that decisions regarding their pay should continue to be delayed.

“The ongoing failure to resolve the pay award for this year continues to be a source of deepening frustration and anger across the profession. Teacher morale has already been impacted and, unless this situation is addressed quickly, further damage may be caused to the prospects of securing the education recovery that you desire and which all pupils deserve.

“I must advise you that in the event that a pay offer is not forthcoming immediately, teachers will regard your actions as tantamount to holding the profession in contempt. The NASUWT will be left with no other option than to consult formally with our members in the event that urgent and immediate progress is not forthcoming.”

Justin McCamphill, NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland, said:

“The Northern Ireland Executive need to know their intransigence is damaging the morale and goodwill of the profession, which has continued to provide high-quality education provision throughout the pandemic.

“That morale needs to be restored by the immediate offer of a pay award which recognises the significant financial difficulties members face, caused by the cost of living crisis.

“If the Executive values education and values the teaching workforce they will come forward immediately with a pay offer that teachers can feel recognises the vital contribution they are making in Northern Ireland society.”
 

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