From education to employment

School leaders in Northern Ireland to escalate industrial action

empty lecture

School leaders’ union NAHT Northern Ireland today (Mon 13 March) announces that it is escalating its ongoing industrial action short of strike due to a lack of response from government and employers to the dispute thus far.

NAHT NI wrote to the employing authorities twice in February, to urge for a resolution by the end of February. Not only did no resolution come, the employing authorities treated our members with such disregard that they didn’t even reply.

School leaders are very annoyed, not just on the issue of pay, but also on the wider failings across our system, including workload, SEN, funding, etc.

Appalled that there has been no furtherance in addressing teacher pay, and being cognisant of the increasing impact on recruitment and retention, NAHT NI has decided to escalate its action short of strike, warning employers that ‘nothing is off the table in terms of what industrial levers we will be prepared to execute.’

The list of escalated actions short of strike includes extended refusal to engage with employers, government or the inspectorate, as well as refusal to pass on communications to staff or governors from employers or the DE, and a strict adherence to a 37.5 hour working week.

Liam McGuckin, president of NAHT in Northern Ireland said:

“School leaders have taken this dispute on for the future of education in Northern Ireland. With career paths in education no longer being competitive with other industries, we are now seeing difficulties in recruitment and retention. Children in Northern Ireland have been short-changed again and again and again when it comes to financing and resourcing education in comparison with our neighbours. Our members are no longer prepared to accept this.

“We believe that our children deserve the best that we, as a society, can give; we want the best teachers and school leaders to be put in front of them and kept in front of them. To this end, to make the job of teaching an attractive career prospect again, and to fairly remunerate our staff for the extremely challenging job that they do, the employers really must end this pay dispute immediately and urgently resolve a series of other outstanding and significant issues around workload, funding, support and resourcing.

“Without any serious attempt to provide a settlement, we have had no option other than to escalate our actions. We are, effectively, curtailing the functions of the wider system, and this escalation represents our membership’s serious intent. We will continue to escalate and we consider that no industrial lever is off the table.”

Related Articles