News Archive 2016
Thousands of Teachers Lobby Politicians in 'Stand Up For Education' Campaign
Door knocking politicians on the electioneering trail are being lobbied by over 16,000 teachers in a new campaign which is calling on all political parties to put education at the forefront of their political agenda.
The three largest teachers' unions, INTO, UTU and ATL, have joined forces to launch the 'Stand Up For Education' campaign which highlights education as a human right which is legally guaranteed for all children without any discrimination.
The campaign, launched today (FRIDAY), is urging all politicians to work together to develop a long term strategy where education is protected from the burden of austerity and also to develop a Programme For Government in the new assembly which places education at the centre of all policy making.
The unions, which collectively represent over 16,000 teachers, head teachers and lecturers, have launched a joint manifesto. Teachers across the region are directly asking politicians on the electioneering trail what their party will do to ensure education is well resourced.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Gerry Murphy, INTO's Northern Secretary, said: "The next Education Minister, from whichever party they are, must be aware that INTO, UTU and ATL will not allow the draconian measures, which have been imposed on our colleagues in England and Wales, such as the academies, and the non-transference of scale points from one school to another, to be imposed here.
"We will continue to vigorously oppose, by all means necessary, any changes to the education system that has a negative effect on our members and the young people in their care.
"This campaign sets out our priorities. We are demanding politicians take heed of and action a strategy which places education at the centre of policy making.
"INTO, UTU and ATL want the pay of teachers to return to the 2008 level in real terms with reimbursement for the pay loss since 2008 and removal of the power of veto of the Minister Of Finance and Personnel over teachers’ annual cost of living increase.
"Since 2010 teachers have experienced a pay freeze for two years and a pay cap of one per cent for a further three years.
"Teachers’ pay is almost 15 per cent less in real terms than in September 2010. Teachers are working longer for less pay, their pension contributions have risen twice in the last two years, with normal retirement age also rising considerably to age 65, 66 and 67 for some.
"The new Government must address these serious issues because the next generation will suffer which will have a detrimental impact on families, the wider community and the overall economy.
"'Stand Up For Education' gives our members a voice in the run up to this election and we are urging all teachers to use their voice in this campaign."
Avril Hall-Callaghan, General Secretary of the UTU, said thousands of teachers across all sectors of education need to use votes wisely.
She said: "This manifesto highlights the issues which are important for the education service. We hope voters will examine carefully where the parties stand on the issues we have identified before deciding where to cast their vote on Thursday.
"All teachers have been armed with facts and figures as well as a list of questions which our politicians must answer. The three unions are urging teachers to use lobby politicians on the election trail. 'Stand Up For Education' is a must and this is a great opportunity for teachers to have a united voice."
Mark Langhammer, Director of ATL Northern Ireland, said: "Northern Ireland's educational system is the most socially segregated in the developed world.
"To promote better educational outcomes for all we need to improve on socially balanced pupil intakes at school level.
"Socially balanced intakes are proven to enhance educational performance. Our politicians cannot afford to avoid this thorny issue any longer."
Date: Friday, 29 April 16