Return to power-sharing a welcome development

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has today welcomed news reports that the DUP will seek to re-enter power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

Recent industrial action which saw an estimated 150,000 public sector workers taking to the streets, as a direct response to the political gridlock at Stormont, has clearly contributed to the return of power-sharing. The visible outpouring of support for striking workers demonstrated that, regardless of political background, most people living in the North had enough of the ongoing political procrastination.  

As a show of good faith, the Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris should now work to make funds available to bring about a fair pay settlement for public sector workers.

INTO General Secretary, John Boyle said

As the largest education union on the island of Ireland, we have long called for the restoration of a functioning government and the payment of monies owed to teachers and other public sector workers. I commend the thousands of teachers and public sector workers who have stood up for themselves and their profession in recent weeks. They showed incredible fortitude in their determination to secure fair pay for the vital work they do in educating our children and it is fair to say their actions have contributed to an end to the political stalemate in Stormont.

The future of any education system depends on our ability to attract and retain talented teachers. The current pay freeze is making it impossible for us to do so. Teachers are being forced to move overseas to secure a decent standard of pay, leaving our schools facing a significant recruitment and retention challenge.

The INTO now calls on the Northern Ireland Executive to deliver fair pay for all public servants.

INTO Northern Secretary, Mark McTaggart said

Teachers and school leaders had the opportunity on the 18 of January to demonstrate their feelings regarding their profession and the failure of employers to recognise their true value. Members have demonstrated their capacity to fight for a salary that properly reflects their true worth to society, and which allows them to feel valued and respected by those in power.

Employers must now make a pay offer to teachers and school leaders that reflects their true value if they want children and young people to have access to the best possible education system. They must ensure that proper funds are made available going forward so that the cuts made to education services can be reversed and a properly funded education system can be put in place that meets the needs of all.