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NASUWT Northern Ireland action members assemble

Schools and colleges need greater investment, young people require more support and teachers and lecturers deserve proper levels of pay, members of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union will hear this weekend.

At the NASUWT Annual Conference in Harrogate over the Easter weekend, members will debate funding for the education service in Northern Ireland.

The recent “Investing in a Better Future” report by the Independent Review of Education in Northern Ireland called for greater investment in education as a matter of priority.

Following the NASUWT Northern Ireland Annual Conference in Belfast earlier this month, Education Minister Paul Givan made a formal pay offer for 2021, 2022 and 2023 to the main teaching unions. After being consulted on the deal NASUWT members voted strongly to accept. 82% voted in favour.

The NASUWT expect that the offer will be formally agreed after the Easter break.
Now a pay deal has been agreed for the last three years, the NASUWT will be looking ahead as it represents its members in negotiations dealing with the pay award for 2024/25.

In sharp contrast, NASUWT members in further education colleges overwhelmingly rejected the pay offer from Economy Minister Conor Murphy as the gap between school teachers and FE lecturers widens even further.

In January, NASUWT members joined around 170,000 public sector workers in taking strike action across Northern Ireland in January, in one of the largest strikes ever seen. It followed a half day of strike action in schools in November and February last year and a full day of strike action in schools and FE colleges in April last year.

The motion to be debated at the conference in Harrogate will congratulate members across Northern Ireland “for their continuing solidarity, dedication, and commitment to the NASUWT industrial action strategy.”

It also calls for a strategy for engagement with the Northern Ireland Executive that:

  • ensures education is properly funded;
  • establishes a single employer for teachers and one department of education;
  • resists any change to academic selection that involves classroom based assessment;
  • establishes a professional body which is representative of the profession and commands its respect.
NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said:

“Our members have had their say on the pay offer made to them, following three years of real-terms cuts to their salaries.

“It has been a disgrace that it has taken repeated strike action before teachers and lecturers have been able to get a pay award put on the table.

“In that time they have seen their incomes drop in real terms during the harshest cost of living crisis in a generation.

“It is not acceptable that the pay gap for teachers and lecturers is set to widen. The Economy Minister must address this as a matter of urgency.

“Going forward we need deals that will see pay rise in future years. We cannot have a situation where our members have to repeatedly take industrial action just to get what they deserve.”

NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland Justin McCamphill said:

“For too long teachers and lecturers have had to fight for a better deal on pay and workload. They have had to endure rising costs of living, real terms pay cuts, increased class sizes, being forced to buy their own teaching materials, and in many cases teach special needs children in conditions which would not be tolerated in any other civilised country.

“We need a long term plan for investment in education in Northern Ireland – no more last minute patches. If the Education Minister wants to avoid a never-ending cycle of ‘cat and mouse’ where we accept a pay deal one year and ballot for action the next - we need serious engagement on pay going forward and workload must be dealt with.

“The Education Minister now needs to prepare for negotiations on pay for 2024-25 and pay restoration will require above-inflation pay awards going forward.”


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