Northern Ireland

Teachers’ unions put planned strike dates ‘on hold’

Industrial action short of strike will continue.

Thousands of public sector workers will go on strike in Northern Ireland on Thursday
Industrial strike Thousands of public sector workers have been on strike over the last number of months (Niall Carson/PA)

Teachers’ unions said they have put planned strike dates “on hold” pending fresh talks.

Members have taken part in strikes over an outstanding pay award, as well as long-running action short of strikes over conditions.

The leaders of the five unions that make up the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council (NITC) made the announcement on Tuesday following a meeting with the new Stormont Education Minister Paul Givan in Lisburn.

The action short of strike in schools is set to continue.

NITC secretary Mark McTaggart said they want to find a resolution to the pay dispute as quickly as possible.

“We would like to thank the minister for the positive engagement this morning and look forward to further meetings with a view to finding a resolution to the pay dispute as quickly as possible,” he said.

Education Minister Paul Givan sitting at an oval table with members of teaching unions
Education Minister Paul Givan met representatives of teaching unions today

Earlier Mr Givan described a “positive engagement”, and said they discussed their “shared objective of a quick resolution to the ongoing pay dispute”.

Mr Givan also spoke of his concern at the impact of industrial action on pupils, and said he asked the unions to suspend it.

“Teachers fully deserve a fair and appropriate pay settlement, and I will work to deliver that.

“It is rightly of the highest priority,” he said.

“I am greatly concerned about the detrimental impact continued action is having on the education of pupils, including our most vulnerable children and young people.

“In view of this, and in the context of the opportunity before us to resolve outstanding issues, I asked the unions to suspend industrial action, including action short of strike, to allow negotiations to take place in a more positive atmosphere.”

Mr Givan said he is committed to working with Executive colleagues to address public sector pay issues.

“I want to create the environment whereby meaningful pay negotiations through the Teachers’ Negotiating Committee (TNC) can commence,” he added.