INTO Ballot For Industrial Action
Why is INTO Balloting Members For Industrial Action?
Why is INTO balloting members on Industrial Action?
Following the recent decision of the NI Executive the Northern Ireland Education budget will suffer savage reductions totalling over £90 million this year. Schools are already suffering serious cut backs in their budgets and this will result in an increase to the number of teachers being made redundant and school closures in 2015.
The 2015/2016 Education budget, coming on the back of reduced funding to the education system over the previous four years, compromises the ability of INTO members to discharge their professional responsibilities with integrity.
In addition the cuts flowing from the 2015/16 Education Budget will further:
a) Serve to undermine educational outcomes and pupil achievements;
b) Create increased levels of risk to the health and wellbeing of both pupils and teachers;
c) Place further unreasonable demands in terms of workload on INTO members who are already subject to excessive workloads.
Therefore the Central Executive Committee of INTO has taken the decision to ballot all our members within the Education sector in Northern Ireland.
Ballot For Action
Ballot papers will be posted to INTO members on 16th February 2015. Members will have the opportunity to vote and provide the INTO with the mandate it needs to proceed in defence of our members and the threat to the wider education system.
INTO responded to the draft Education budget and / Executive budgets. The focus of our response has been:
- The cuts will devastate education today and for generations to come;
- The teaching profession will be reduced beyond recognition
- Both draft budgets fail to recognise the value of education as an economic driver; and
- Education should be protected from financial pressures and a long term economic strategy should have education at its core.
The consultation on the draft Education Budget closed on the 29th of December 2014 and had received 21,000 responses. This huge response is due in no small measure to the efforts of INTO members across the north. The Northern Committee [NC] of INTO wishes to extend its thanks and appreciation to all those who made the effort to respond on the vital issue of the budget. We now await the outcome of these interventions. We hope that they will realise the devastation the budget proposals will bring and will redraw the budget to fully reflect the concerns.
Many individuals were hopeful that the recent agreement between the political parties would abate this funding crisis. The agreement referred to as “The Stormont House Agreement” provides NOTHING that will change in any positive way the proposed impacts of either the Executive’s or DE’s proposed budgets. The bulk of the monies will be used to decimate the public sector including the loss of a significant numbers of teaching posts.
INTO, in the absence of any indication of meaningful change, from either the Executive or the DE, is moving ahead to plan the next steps in our campaign. We will continue to resist the proposed savage cuts and urge others to do likewise. The NC is meeting shortly and INTO will now move to expedite the necessary internal processes to enable a ballot for industrial action to proceed. A ballot is necessary so INTO can demonstrate its disgust at these proposed cuts, as well as play a leading role in a wider public service campaign under the umbrella of Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Over the coming weeks INTO branches will be holding their AGMs and the NC urges every member to attend their local Branch meeting. Attendance is vital to ensure that every member is fully briefed as to INTO strategy to allow them to make an informed decision when asked to complete a ballot paper. INTO will also continue to liaise with the other teachers unions and the various bodies who have indicated support for INTOs campaign. We aim to persuade as many organisations and individuals to get involved in protecting teachers’ jobs and the broader education service.
We must stand together and defend education. We must ensure that front line services are protected. We cannot afford to stand by and do nothing. We owe this to the children in our schools today and for generations to come. We owe this to the teachers of today and tomorrow.