21/11/2023

Further Strike Action Will Only Disrupt Children's Education – DoE

The Department of Education (DoE) has said that further strike action will only serve to disrupt the education of children and young people across Northern Ireland.

The DoE made the comment following an announcement by the Northern Ireland Teachers' Council (NITC) of their intention to engage in strike action on Wednesday 29 November and on a further four dates in the 2024 Spring term.

Responding to the announcement, DoE Permanent Secretary, Dr Mark Browne said: "Teachers carry out a vital role and deserve to be paid at a fair rate for the work they do. The Department fully understands the frustration of teachers and school leaders over the ongoing absence of a pay offer. It is regrettable that the Department has been unable to offer teachers a pay award for the past three years similar to other jurisdictions, but it is simply unaffordable within an inadequate education budget."

Dr Browne continued: "Active engagement has been taking place for many months between Management Side and Teachers' Side of the Teachers' Negotiating Committee on a teachers' pay settlement for 2021/22 and 2022/23. The trade unions are fully aware that Public Sector Pay Policy requires that a pay offer can only be made if it is affordable within the allocated budget.

"It is therefore very disappointing that NITC has decided to call for a half day strike next week and on four further occasions next year. Continued strike action by trade unions serves only to cause disruption to the education of those who least deserve it, our children and young people, at a time when the Department is forced to work within the challenging position imposed on it by the reduced allocation that education has received in the Secretary of State's budget."


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