Teachers' unions come together to launch pay campaign
TEACHERS’ unions in Northern Ireland are coming together to launch a pay campaign.
The Northern Ireland Teachers Council (NITC), the representative body for the unions, have agreed to act jointly to "make finding an acceptable resolution to the question of teachers pay an election issue".
The campaign was prompted by the rejection of a pay offer from the Department of Education and employing authorities.
A series of public meetings will be held across the north, addressed by senior leadership figures from the unions with the campaign aiming to "give the public and teachers a forum to air their views and for local politicians to see and hear first-hand the anger the profession is feeling right now".
Jacquie White from the Ulster Teachers’ Union said: "Teachers deserve a pay offer which recognises their value to society and acknowledges the contribution they have made in recent years to keep our ailing education system functioning in the face of a pandemic and continued underfunding.
"The offer we received was not that."
Mark Langhamme of the National Education Union also said that with "inflation running at 6.2 per cent and projected by the Bank of England to rise to over 8 per cent in the time ahead teachers are right to have rejected the pay offer made to them".
"What we need is for our politicians to take this issue seriously and recognise that teachers are essential workers who are key to the future wellbeing of not only our society but our economy," he said.
"Making them a pay offer which in effect amounts to a pay cut is a recipe for trouble."
Graham Gault from the NAHT NI said staff "feel let down and disappointed by a pay offer which makes a mockery of the work and efforts all our members have made over the pandemic".
"School leaders, leadership teams and every other member of the teaching profession have made huge sacrifices to keep the schools open for the children and young people," he said.
"The offer made to our members reflects none of this work, effort, or sacrifice. This is unacceptable and we demand the department and the employers do better for school leaders and teachers."
Gerry Murphy of the INTO added that the "strength of feeling across the profession is evident from the coming together of the NITC to campaign as one body speaking with one voice on this issue".
"The politicians and civil servants along with the employing bodies need to understand that teachers deserve better a pay offer which is reflective of other graduate professions," he said.
"Our members are worth more and are determined to see a decent cost of living increase."