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Procedures and Guidelines

The purpose of this webpage is to inform INTO Representatives on the matter of teacher redundancies; the agreed procedures and guidelines for handling redundancy situations; and the assistance available to members facing redundancy. The webpage does not purport to be an interpretation of the law relating to redundancy – such interpretations can only be provided through the appropriate judicial bodies e.g. industrial tribunals, Appeal Court (NI) etc.

Redundancy Situation Redundancy Consultation
Timetable Redundancies due to School Amalgamations

Redundancy situation

Redundancy situations can occur among teachers in schools where:

(a) a school is being closed;
(b) a school is being amalgamated; or
(c) the requirements of a school for teacher to carry out particular work in that school have ceased or diminished.

Closures and amalgamations of schools are referred to as rationalization or re-organisation of educational provision. There is no agreed procedure for specifically handling school closures other than the ‘guidelines for handling Teacher Redundancies in Grant-Aided Schools in Northern Ireland’ (See Appendix 1). Where two or more schools are to be amalgamated the agreed procedures are set out in a Collective Agreement – ‘Teacher Redeployment in the Context of School Rationalisation’ (A copy of which can be obtained on request from Northern Office).

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Redundancy consultation

There is a legal requirement on every employer of teachers to consult with INTO in each redundancy situation. The agreed procedure for such consultations are set out in the Appendix to this leaflet as referred to above.

INTO’s policy is to oppose redundancies among teacher and to at least retain the maximum number of teacher post in any given situation. Where redundancy situations are unavoidable, INTO will seek to achieve redeployment of the staff concerned to suitable alternative teaching posts. Members requiring detailed information on their personal situation should contact Northern Office.

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Timetable

Redundancies due to School Closure, Falling Enrolments, Financial Deficits or Curriculum Needs

• Proposals for redundancies on these grounds should become available during the early part of the spring Term (January-March). The employers are required to notify all such proposals in writing to INTO Northern Office.

• The information provided should specify the details set out in the Guidelines for Handling Teacher Redundancies’, including the criteria for selecting the teacher(s) to be declared redundant.

• On receipt of such information in Northern Office it will be communicated to the appropriate INTO Area/District Representative and to the INTO School Representative in the school concerned.

• On receipt of this information from Northern Office, INTO School Representatives should convene a meeting of members in the school to inform them of the employer’s proposals and obtain their views on the proposals. School Representatives should not hesitate to contact their appropriate Area/District Representatives at this stage for advice/assistance.

• The views of members on the employer’s proposals should be communicated in writing to Northern Office where it will be arranged to inform the employers of their views for the purposes of consultation.

• Where necessary INTO will arrange to meet with the employer’s representatives to discuss members’ views on the proposals.

• Following these consultations it will be a matter for the employer to nominated the teacher(s) who it proposes to declare redundant.

• Every teacher nominated will have the right to:-

(a) Make oral representations; and
(b) Appeal to an independent Appeal Committee in accordance with the agreed Guidelines for Handling Teacher Redundancies. Member(s) making such representations or appeals will be entitled to be accompanied by an INTO Representative if (s)he so desires.

At all times through these consultations INTO will seek to ensure that opportunities for redeployment of the teacher(s) facing redundancy are fully explored.

It should be noted that INTO takes the view, unless an agreement is reached otherwise in particular circumstances, that such redundancies can only take effect at the end of a school year. As the teacher(s) concerned are entitled to four months’ notice where it is proposed to declare redundancies at the end of August, the consultation process should be completed well in advance of the end of April in any year. Any slippage in this time scale should be notified immediately to the appropriate INTO Area/District Representative or to Northern Office.

NB. In the case of redundancies arising from a school closure, and where the teacher(s) are redeployed, the provision of the Collective Agreement on School Rationalisation in so far as they refer to 'Travel and House Removal' will apply.

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Redundancies Due To School Amalgamations

In every case of school amalgamation INTO will insist that there will be no enforced redundancy in the year of amalgamation or in the year immediately thereafter. This policy is strictly in accordance with the Collective Agreement on School Rationalisation. Should redundancy situations occur following this period of protection, they must be dealt with in accordance with the agreed guidelines for the handling of Teacher Redundancies.

The employers are required to notify Northern Office of each proposal for amalgamation.

On receipt of this information, Northern Office will notify members in the schools concerned.
In liaison with the INTO School and Area/District Representatives in the schools concerned, meetings will be held to obtain members' views on the proposal and to provide advice/assistance to members.
Views of members on the proposal will be communicated to the employers for the purposes of consultation.

INTO will only sign the Collective Agreement when it is satisfied that members' views have been properly considered, and any concerns have been satisfactorily resolved.

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IMPORTANT

Redundancy means dismissal and the loss of a teacher's livelihood. It is imperative that all INTO Representatives co-ordinate their activities in any redundancy situation. Every member should be assured that (s)he has the full support of the Organisation at such a time.

The Organisation's Representatives are available at every level to members faced by a redundancy situation.

Appendix 1

Guidelines for the Handling of Teacher Redundancies in Grant-Aided Schools in Northern Ireland

The Guidelines for the Handling of Teacher Redundancies have been agreed in the Teachers' Salaries and conditions of Service Negotiating Committee (Schools). The Guidelines apply to teacher redundancies in all grant aided schools.

Employing authorities and Unions recognise the need to deal with redundancy situations in the fairest possible way. In order to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that teachers facing redundancy may benefit from arrangements for availing of opportunities for redeployment or seeking alternative employment. It is noted that 4 calendar months notice is required to terminate the contract on the last of the months of August or September.

The statutory position with regard to the right to time off with pay to look for another job or to make arrangements for training for future employment is set out in the Guidelines. It is accepted that Employing Authorities will treat sympathetically any reasonable request for time off with pay for these purposes.

Paragraph 1.1 (i) refers to the criterion ' that the needs of the school are paramount'. In applying this criterion, the 'needs' of the school should be specified in sufficient detail to enable meaningful consultation to take place.
Employers have been reminded that these procedures do not remove their responsibilities under the provision of the Industrial Relations (NI) Order 1976 No. 1043 and the Contracts of Employment and Redundancy Payments Act (NI) 1965.

The Guidelines

1.1 Whenever a relevant body is proposing to dismiss as redundant any teacher it shall immediately advise, in writing, the full-time officials(or nominees) of the 5 recognised teachers' unions; namely INTO, UTU, NASUWT, NEU (formerly ATL) and NAHT, setting out:

(a) the specific reasons for the proposal, indicating whether they arise from financial, curricular or other considerations;
(b) the number and description of teachers whom it is proposed to dismiss as redundant;
(c) the total number of teachers employed by the school; and
(d) the criteria to be used for selecting teachers for redundancy.

The criteria of 'last in first out' shall normally apply provided that:

(i) it is recognised that the needs of the school are paramount; and
(ii) prescribed posts - Principal and vice-Principal posts are excluded.

1.2 The relevant body shall:

(a) consider any representations made by the teacher union representatives; and
(b) reply in writing to those representations, and, if any are rejected, state the reason for such rejection.

Procedure

2.1 As much advance notice as possible shall be given to the staff and the recognised teachers' unions.

2.2 In consultation with the recognised unions, attempts shall be made to investigate any possible means of avoiding redundancies, for example:

(a) natural wastage through retirement or resignation;
(b) voluntary transfer to another school;
(c) redeployment within school; or
(d) premature retirement arrangements.

2.3 If redundancies are considered inevitable the relevant body shall ensure that the consultation provisions as set out at paragraph 1.1 are followed and also that the criteria to be used for selection for redundancy are applied.

2.4 The relevant body shall make arrangements for affording to any teacher, whom it is proposing should be dismissed on the grounds of redundancy;

(a) an opportunity of making representations with respect to the proposed redundancy including oral representations to such persons or persons as the relevant body may appoint for the purpose and shall have regard to any representations made;

(b) an opportunity of appealing against the redundancy before the relevant body notifies the employing authority of the determination. In the case of a Voluntary Grammar School and a GMI school, the teacher shall be given the opportunity to appealing before the employing authority issues notice of redundancy; and

(c) the teacher may be represented at (a) or (b) above by the recognised trade union or a teaching colleague.

2.5 Appeal Procedure

The terms of reference of the Appeal Committee shall be:

(a) (i) to determine whether the guidelines have been properly followed; and
(ii) to determine whether the relevant body has acted reasonably in selecting the appellent for redundancy.

(b) (i) the Appeal Committee shall consist of an independent Chairman appointed by the Labour Relations Agency and 2 panel members, one nominated by the employing authority, the other nominated by the Northern Ireland Teachers' Council;
(ii) the teacher or the full-time representative of his/her union or equivalent, may , within 5 working days of receiving notification of a determination by the relevant body lodge a formal notice of Appeal to the Secretary of Arbitration, Labour Relations Agency, and shall simultaneously copy it to the other party; and
(iii) the Appeal shall be heard within 5 working days of receipt of the formal notice of appeal by the Secretary of Arbitration who shall be responsible for the setting up and administration of the Appeal.

2.6 In the event of redundancy being unavoidable, the employing authority shall make every reasonable effort to redeploy the redundant teacher.

2.7 A teacher who has been in continuous employment for 2 years and who is selected for redundancy has the right to time off with pay to look for another job or make arrangements for training for future employment.

2.8 The period of notice shall comply with the teacher's contract of employment.

NOTE: for the purposes of this Circular, 'relevant body' means -

(a) in the case of a school without a delegated budget, the employing authority; and
(b) in the case of a school which has a delegated budget, the Board of Governors of the school.

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