TNC Management Side Statement on Industrial Action

17-January-24

Education services face unprecedented widespread disruption.

Education bodies have warned that the widespread disruption to education caused by the upcoming strike action will have a further detrimental impact on children and young people across Northern Ireland.

The five Teaching Unions (INTO, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, UTU) have notified the Teachers’ Negotiating Council (TNC) Management Side of their intention to participate in a full day of strike action on Thursday, 18January 2024.

This unprecedented action is the fourth strike being taken by the teaching unions since early last year.

The support staff Trade Unions (UNISON, UNITE the UNION, NIPSA and GMB) have also notified their intention to call on their members to participate in a full day strike action on Thursday 18 January 2024. Furthermore, the UNITE strike action will be for a total of 8 days across 3 weeks on 17-19 & 24 - 26 January and 1 & 2 February 2024.

A spokesperson for TNC Management Side said:

“We fully recognise the real difficulties and challenges this action presents for schools, parents/carers, and children and young people.

“We also understand the frustration of teachers and school leaders and recognise that such action is only taken reluctantly.

“Teachers carry out a vital role and deserve to be paid at a fair rate for the work they do.

“There has been continued engagement between Teachers’ Side and Management Side of TNC to resolve the pay dispute dating back to 2021. However, it has not been possible to make an acceptable pay award, similar to other jurisdictions, because of the budgetary challenges facing education.

“We also recognise the financial challenges arising from pay and grading issues that have had a direct impact on support staff in schools and resulted in the non-teaching unions also taking action.

“The impact of this action by large numbers of staff, both teaching and non-teaching, will result in severe disruption and potential widespread school closures impacting the vast majority of pupils, including some of our most vulnerable, marginalised and deprived children. Management Side TNC sought a derogation from all five teaching unions, however, this request was declined.

"It will not be possible to gauge the full affect until the strike action has concluded but it is expected to be extensive.

“Members of management side are therefore repeating the call for critical investment in education. It is essential that finance is made available so that negotiations can progress and further strike action is averted.”

Guidance has issued in advance to support all schools to minimise the effect this action will have on pupils.

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