Northern Ireland news

Teachers taking industrial action could have their pay docked

Teachers taking industrial action in NI could have their pay deducted

TEACHERS taking industrial action in schools across the north could have their pay deducted, it has emerged.

In a letter sent to school principals from the teaching employers, it has warned there could be implications for "teachers' contractual obligations".

It comes after members of the NASUWT teaching union began industrial action short of a strike in May in a dispute over pay, workload and adverse working conditions.

It affects teachers covering for other staff, overseeing exams, lesson plans, inspections, parent meetings and school meetings.

The move came after teaching unions in the north rejected a pay offer from employers as "inadequate".

But in the letter, reported by BBC NI, the umbrella body for teaching employers in the north said those teachers are "not fulfilling the full extent of their contractual obligations and are thereby in breach of contract".

Sara Long, chair of the management side, which represents the Education Authority, council for Catholic Maintained Schools and the Department of Education, said that they "cannot accept the partial performance of teachers’ contractual duties".

"We have written to the NASUWT to request that it stands down the actions we consider to be a breach of contract," it added.

"We have advised that if this cannot be agreed, we will need to consider putting in place arrangements for the appropriate and proportionate deductions of salary from those teachers who are in breach of their contractual obligations."

But the NASUWT said that the union "will respond robustly to management side to advise them that their threats serve little purpose other than to unnecessarily escalate tensions during the trade dispute".

"The NASUWT will not hesitate to take steps to protect our members' interests and if the employers escalate the dispute by attempting to take retaliatory action against our members, then the NASUWT will not hesitate to call strike action," it said.

It also comes after another teaching union said on Monday that they will ballot members in September over an ongoing pay dispute.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) Northern Secretary Gerry Murphy said there was now no option but to seek a mandate for industrial action from its membership.

Members of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) also voted overwhelmingly in favour of action short of strike earlier this month.

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