Northern Ireland

Warning of ‘further industrial action’ in education as unions meet with minister

GMB, which represents more than 3,000 school staff in Northern Ireland, said the Education Minister ‘offered no money for pay’.

P3 children in a Belfast primary school playgrond
Education The GMB Union, which represents more than 3,000 school staff in Northern Ireland, said the education minister “offered no money for pay” when they met on Tuesday. Picture date: Monday March 8, 2021. (Liam McBurney/PA)

There has been a warning of further industrial action in education as a dispute over the pay and grading of school support staff in Northern Ireland continues.

Trade unions representing workers, including classroom assistants, kitchen staff, bus drivers, cleaners and administrative workers, met with Stormont Education Minister Paul Givan at Stormont on Tuesday.

The GMB Union, which represents more than 3,000 school staff in Northern Ireland, said the minister “offered no money for pay”.

They said he “made it clear that within the current public sector pay budget of £684 million there was nothing to address the pay and grading review for school staff, which has been ongoing since 2018”.



GMB said it will consult with members with a view to taking further industrial action.

Regional organiser Jim Donley said his members across the Education Authority are “some of the lowest paid in the country”.

“This news will be another blow to workers who have been campaigning since 2018 for an end to the mismatch between grades and responsibilities,” he said.

“Previous Stormont Executives have failed to address this – it simply isn’t acceptable given the business case has already been agreed between unions and management.

“GMB now has no alternative now but to engage with our members with the view to taking further industrial action.”