Northern Ireland teachers unite for fair pay

In a long-running industrial action campaign in Northern Ireland, teachers withdrew their labour on Tuesday in a half-day strike designed to encourage the Department of Education to return to the negotiating table.

Teachers and school leaders in Northern Ireland have waited for more than a year for a pay rise as they are subjected to an ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Teachers across the island of Ireland stood in solidarity with members in Northern Ireland, as they braved the cold weather to demonstrate their commitment to the campaign for fair pay.

The decision to strike is not one that was rushed into; indeed all the recognised teacher trade unions have worked tirelessly to manage this dispute to minimise the disruption to the education of children and young people in their care.

INTO President John Driscoll expressed the solidarity of all teachers with their colleagues in Northern Ireland.

The INTO, with 50,000 members across the island, stands united in support of our Northern Ireland colleagues. At meetings and seminars in the Republic, there is a very strong sense of solidarity. The extremely challenging nature of industrial relations negotiation and the political background is alarming to many. Meeting teachers on the picket line, it is clear they are frustrated and under pressure – both financially and professionally. Taking industrial action shows the extent of the crisis and the urgent need for significant improvement to salary and investment in education. I wish to thank all our members who have strongly backed the industrial action to date. I was proud to join with members on the picket lines yesterday and to witness the huge turnout at regional rallies.”

INTO Northern Secretary Gerry Murphy commented on the conclusion of the half-day strike yesterday, noting:

Across the North from Ballycastle to Belcoo, Newtownbutler to Newry and everywhere in between INTO members demonstrated their determination to achieve the fair pay rise they deserve and are entitled to, by participating in huge numbers in yesterday’s strike. The Department of Education and the employers now have a window of opportunity to engage in a meaningful negotiation with the teacher unions. The INTO will approach such a negotiation in a confident and positive manner.”