Teachers back on strike on Northern Ireland

NASUWT strike rally DerryNASUWT members in Northern Ireland are today on strike in schools across Derry City and Strabane, Mid Ulster and Fermanagh and Omagh.

Thousands of teachers are taking part in the action to demonstrate their anger and frustration about the derisory pay offer from the Minister of Education of 0% for the 2015/2016 academic year.

Teachers are also angered about the Minister and the Employer’s failure to tackle seriously the year-on-year pay cuts, excessive workload and widespread job insecurity teachers are facing.

Since 2011, teachers have been subjected to a two-year pay freeze, two years of a 1% pay increase and a continuing pay freeze from 2015 onwards.

The cumulative effect of teachers’ pay freezes and pay restraint, against a background of high inflation, and pension and National Insurance increases from 2010 through to 2016, has left teachers the lowest paid teachers in the UK with a cumulative loss of just over £15,000 *(See table in Notes to Editors).

As part of the day of action, teachers will be gathering at a rally at St Columb’s Hall, in Derry at 11am.

The rally will be addressed by teachers and elected representatives of the NASUWT in Northern Ireland.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “It is with deep regret that we have been forced to continue with our rolling programme of strike action, but this is entirely the responsibility of the Minister for Education who has refused to accept that his attacks on teachers’ pay are damaging the sustainability and morale of the teaching profession.

“The Minister has been given the money to pay the minimum 1% award to teachers for 2015/16, instead teachers are being asked to bear the brunt of the failure by the Executive to properly ring-fence education from budget cuts.

“Teachers deserve pay and working conditions which enable them to provide the world-class education service that our children and young people are entitled to.”

Justin McCamphill, NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland, said: “No teacher takes strike action lightly and we regret the disruption the action will have on pupils and parents.

“Despite our attempts to resolve this dispute through negotiation, the attitude of the Minister has left us with no other option than to continue our programme of strike action.

“Teachers are angry, frustrated and determined to send a loud and clear message that says value us and the children we teach.”

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