Teachers union prepares to take strike action

Members of the largest teachers union in Northern Ireland, the NASUWT, have voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute aimed at maintaining pay parity with colleagues in England and Wales.

Asked to vote on strike action and action short of strike action, teachers response was overwhelming support - 79% voting in favour of strike action and almost 94% in favour of action short of strike action.

Commenting on the result, NASUWT General Secretary Eamonn O'Kane said: "This result shows the very deep sense of anger and frustration felt by members over the failure to maintain pay parity."

He said that the union had sought to avoid taking action that adversely affect pupils, but he said that following the ballot there was no choice remaining.

However, Mr O'Kane said that the union was willing to enter into serious talks with the employing authorities in an effort to resolve the issue.

Previous discussions through the Labour Relations Agency had been largely unproductive due, he said, to "the employing authorities' apparent lack of determination to address seriously our concerns".

"The action short of strike action, which will be a total no cover ban, will commence on 15 March 2004," he said.

He added that the union was available to meet at any time before that date, under the auspices of the LRA, to seek to resolve the dispute.

"I sincerely hope that this action can be avoided but the employing authorities should be in no doubt about the determination of NASUWT members to support this action and strike action should that be necessary."


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