Education news

School leaders in Northern Ireland to escalate industrial action

The NAHT NI said it had written to employing authorities twice in February
Suzanne McGonagle

SCHOOL leaders are to escalate their industrial action in a continuing row over pay and conditions.

The National Association of Head Teachers NI (NAHT) said it was taking the action "due to a lack of response from government and employers to the dispute thus far".

In a statement, the union said it had written to employing authorities twice in February, to urge for a resolution by the end of that month. But it added that "not only did no resolution come, the employing authorities treated our members with such disregard that they didn’t even reply".

The union said it was "appalled that there has been no furtherance in addressing teacher pay, and being cognisant of the increasing impact on recruitment and retention, NAHT NI has decided to escalate its action short of strike".

The list of escalated actions short of strike includes extended refusal to engage with employers, government or the inspectorate, as well as refusal to pass on communications to staff or governors from employers or the Department of Education and a strict adherence to a 37.5 hour working week.

Liam McGuckin, president of NAHT NI, said: "School leaders have taken this dispute on for the future of education in Northern Ireland. With career paths in education no longer being competitive with other industries, we are now seeing difficulties in recruitment and retention.

"Children in Northern Ireland have been short-changed again and again and again when it comes to financing and resourcing education in comparison with our neighbours. Our members are no longer prepared to accept this.

"Without any serious attempt to provide a settlement, we have had no option other than to escalate our actions. We are, effectively, curtailing the functions of the wider system, and this escalation represents our membership’s serious intent. We will continue to escalate and we consider that no industrial lever is off the table."

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