Teaching union fight for better pay to continue
THE head of one of the north's largest teaching unions has vowed to continue to fight for better pay and work conditions.
Classroom staff have been involved in industrial action over pay, which has included strike days and refusal to cooperate with inspections.
All main unions withdrew cooperation as part of action short of a strike, which began in January 2017. The Education and Training Inspectorate has been unable to complete hundreds of school reports as a result.
Pay and conditions were among the issues debated by more than 200 delegates at the northern conference of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO).
Northern secretary Gerry Murphy said INTO was fully committed to fight for better pay and better work conditions on behalf of its 7,000 members in the north.
Mr Murphy said work was continuing behind the scenes for the past 12 months in spite of difficult conditions where there were no politicians sitting in Stormont or ministers to make decisions.
The conference heard that the union would "not sway from doing its utmost to secure a better deal for teachers who are working under undue amounts of pressure, bombarded with unrelenting workloads beyond their responsibilities and working in under-funded environments".
"Our medium and long term focus has to be about ensuring more money is devoted to the education budget as a whole. A united NITC (Northern Ireland Teachers Council) has been instrumental in making the issue of education funding the talking point it has become," Mr Murphy said.
"But it would be foolish and misleading for me to suggest that change of such magnitude, though it is necessary and essential, will easily be brought about. It is not however impossible and together with our NITC colleagues and our political friends we can see it delivered if we are committed to doing so.
"It must also be about promoting more effective working with our trade union brothers and sisters across the other four unions in this place. We in INTO are committed to this.
"Our current working over the past 12 months of negotiations with the employers and the department has demonstrated that speaking with one voice and operating as one body is truly in the interests of you the members. We enjoy a close working relationship already with the UTU and NEU. It is established and productive and we are determined it becomes ever closer."