28/09/2007

Fresh Talks To Resolve Classroom Assistants Dispute

Employers and trade unions will enter into new talks today in an attempt to break the deadlock over classroom assistants' pay.

Thousands of assistants marched through Belfast on Wednesday as part of a day of strike action over pay.

Interventions from Education Minister Caitriona Ruane to avert the strike did not produce any new offer to the trade unions from Education employers.

Speaking at Wednesday's rally, John Corey, General Secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA), said: "NIPSA will not be compromising on contractual entitlement to have Classroom Assistants' rates of pay based on 32.5hours per week."

Alison Millar, NIPSA's negotiator for Classroom Assistants also assured NIPSA members that no deal would be done "behind closed doors".

Meanwhile, the GMB union has criticised NIPSA's decision to hold the one-day strike on Wednesday. NIPSA picket lines were mounted at schools across the province with hundreds forced to close.

Further strike action is planned for 2, 3 and 4 October and an all-out strike on 8 October, if no resolution is reached.

(LC/SP)

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