Northern Ireland

School support staff to consider pay offer after months of strike action

GMB, NIPSA, UNISON and Unite the Union have agreed to consult their members

NIPSA Members protest at Stormont on Monday.
Members employed by the Education Authority (non-teaching staff) had an expectation that the long overdue Pay and Grading Review, agreed with employers in 2019, would be addressed within the current Assembly budget.

The deal, which would start to address levels of poverty pay that are endemic to the education sector, was supposed to be included in the new financial package (which formed a key part of the restoration of the N.I. Assembly). Education workers are among the lowest paid in society, with many working multiple jobs to make ends meet and the failure to implement the Pay and Grading review has pushed members further into poverty.

Following meetings with the Education Minister, Paul Givan, and clarification that funding for the review is not available within the budget agreed by Stormont, NIPSA has been left with no option other than to take action to support its members.
As a result, NIPSA, and the other Education trade union members, will take part in co-ordinated industrial action, beginning with school bus drivers who will strike on 20, 21, 22 May and 3, 4 June.

NIPSA members pictured during a previous day of strike action. PICTURE COLM LENAGHAN

School support staff are set to consider a proposed pay offer following months of strike action.

Unions representing workers, which include bus drivers, classroom assistants and canteen staff, are expected to ballot members on whether to accept the new offer.

It is reported that the proposal includes the regrading of staff, backdated to April 1 and a one-off lump sum payment of £2,500.

GMB, NIPSA, UNISON and Unite the Union have agreed to consult their members on the terms of the proposed agreement in the coming weeks.

The move comes amid a long-running dispute over pay and job grading, which has led to strike action.

A number of schools have been forced to close or partially shut during the days of the strike action.

Education Minister Paul Givan
Education minister Paul Givan

Education minister Paul Givan said on Monday that he welcomed confirmation from support staff unions that they will consult their members on the proposed pay and grading review resolution.

“I welcome today’s positive development that all the support staff unions have agreed to formally consult their membership on a jointly developed resolution to the pay and grading dispute,” he said.

“I am pleased that this significant progress has been achieved in advance of the summer break in schools and I will continue to work with the unions and Executive colleagues to deliver a resolution before the start of the new school year.”