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Press Releases 2016

Pay Talks Collapse

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Following more than 12 months of fruitless negotiation on teachers’ pay the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) has today, along with the other teacher unions in the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council (NITC), walked out of talks with the Employers and the Department of Education.

The INTO, Ireland's largest teaching union, rejected a proposal from Management Side of the Teachers’ Negotiation Committee to settle a year old pay claim.

Acceptance of this proposal would have meant that teachers in Northern Ireland would receive no pay rise whatsoever for 2015/16 year, and would receive only a 1% cost of living uplift for 2016/17 year. It has certainly not gone unnoticed by INTO that teachers in England and Wales have already seen their wages rise by 1% for 2015/16 and have already agreed an uplift of a further 1% for 2016/17. Indeed non-teaching colleagues in the Northern Ireland education system too have received a pay increase of 1% for 2015/16.

INTO Northern Secretary, Mr Gerry Murphy, said

“This offer can only be described as an insult to all the teachers across the north and must be viewed as the contemptible benchmark by which teachers are valued by the Employing Authorities. This is of course in direct contradiction to the flowery praise often bestowed on the work of teachers, principals and vice-principals by these same Authorities. Teachers in Northern Ireland already earn a wage that is 16% below the OECD average (OECD Teaching and Learning Survey 2011-14) and since 2010 have endured a year on year erosion to the value of their take home pay in real terms”

Mr Murphy continued,

“INTO, in concert with the NITC, entered into these negotiations in good faith in October 2015, and despite our best efforts, the employing Authorities have made no realistic attempt to come to an equitable settlement with teachers which truly reflects their hard work, commitment and dedication to our young people. The efforts of teachers to continue delivering a first class education in the face of relentless cuts and ever increasing demands are clearly viewed by the Department and Employers as a signal they can continue to exploit the goodwill of teachers.

In light of this refusal by Management to acknowledge the hard work of teachers, INTO must now consult its members and colleagues from the other teacher unions as we decide on our next steps. We cannot accept an offer which rewards a teacher, with six full years of service, a miserable increase of 78 pence a day. Nor is it acceptable that a Principal with the responsibility for leading a school of approximately 500 pupils can expect their pay to increase by the princely sum of £1.60 per day. It doesn't take a fortune teller to predict what the aforementioned next steps may be.”

Mr Murphy concluded:

“INTO's Northern Committee will meet on Friday this week to consider the most appropriate course of action available to them. INTO remains committed to move beyond this impasse and to seek the vastly improved pay offer which our members so richly deserve. The Employers have a short window of opportunity to make a meaningful offer to teachers before their foolish and mean spirited approach comes back to bite them.”