Call off futile industrial action - Weir

Date published: 29 November 2016

Industrial action is futile and will not change teacher’s pay deal outcome.

Education Minister, Peter Weir is calling on teachers to reconsider industrial action tomorrow.

Education Minister, Peter Weir has commented on the impending strike action by teaching unions.  The Minister said:

“I have made it clear that the education budget is under severe pressure and my top priority must be the children’s education and protecting school budgets.  I recognise the enormous contribution made by teachers but it is essential that I balance the demand for increased wages against protecting frontline educational services. 

“School leaders are struggling to cope with the sustained industrial action in schools since 2011.  The escalation of this action, resulting in strike days, will severely harm the education of the children that we all seek to serve.  Whilst I recognise most schools will remain open, some will be open to staff only.  It will cause major disruption to parents and put further pressure on other teachers and leaders that are already struggling to cope in addition to damaging the reputation of teachers. 

“The negotiations are over.  The rejected two year pay deal is an increase of 2.61% to teacher’s pay. This includes a general 1% increase for 2016/17 plus automatic time served incremental salary progressions.

“A day of strike will only result in the loss of a day’s pay, effectively much of the 1% the unions are saying they are fighting for.  I am therefore forced to conclude that union leaders are letting down their members by leading them into a cul de sac of industrial action which is futile rather than focusing on future negotiations.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The two-year pay deal for 2015 and 2016 provides a 2.61% increase to teachers pay. It is not a pay cut. It is the best deal available within the Northern Ireland Executive’s pay policy which applies to all of the public sector.
  2. The strike action will not have the impact that unions claim. It will not result in a revisit of the 2015 and 2016 pay deal. The negotiations are over.
  3. Teaching unions rejected a 1.37% cost of living offer for 2015 because it was subject to the removal of the automatic element only of incremental progression.  They would have still have moved up the scale based on performance.
  4. Teachers who strike will lose a day’s pay.
  5. Any industrial action impacts most on the pupils and the parents and damages the reputation of the teaching profession.
  6. Follow us on Twitter @education_NI
  7. See photos from the Department of Education in our flickr collection.
  8. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383, and your call will be returned.

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