General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Teachers back industrial action



20th December 2008

Belfast Telegraph 

Thousands of schoolchildren face disruption to their education when they return to classes after the Christmas holidays after Northern Ireland’s largest teaching union voted for industrial action last night.


The NASUWT said that it had overwhelming support for action among members.

The backing for industrial action came from 89.3% of those voting.

However, turnout among the 11,000 members in the province was only 30.86%.

Industrial action is part of the union’s campaign for parity of pay and conditions of service for teachers in Northern Ireland with their counterparts in England and Wales.

Union general secretary Chris Keates said: “This vote gives a clear mandate for industrial action.

“It reflects the deep frustration felt by teachers across Northern Ireland about the injustices they continue to suffer with regard to pay and conditions of service.

“The NASUWT has explored every option to seek to avoid industrial action but for years we have met nothing but delay, prevarication or failure to address the needs of the pupils.”

Teachers required good working conditions to enable them to continue to raise standards, he said.

“Failure to address the needs of teachers is equally a failure to address the needs of the pupils,” added Mr Keates.

Notice to employers of the action to be taken and instructions to members will be given at the beginning of January, he said.

Changes the union demands include giving teachers 10% planning, preparation and assessment time, as in England and Wales, as well as limits on workload and limits on meetings.

Initial action is expected to protest about coverage for absent colleagues, administrative and clerical tasks, after-school meetings and the proposed boycotting of initiatives the union thinks put unreasonable work burdens on members.


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