Education support staff in Northern Ireland need urgent action on pay

Reform needed so wages are applied fairly

Thousands of school staff will hold a day-long strike across Northern Ireland tomorrow (Thursday) over pay, says UNISON today.

Workers including cleaners, catering staff, caretakers, classroom assistants, administrators and technicians will join picket lines at hundreds of schools across the country.

They are taking action over the Education Authority’s failure to update the grading structure, which UNISON says must be changed to recognise the roles and responsibilities of staff so they’re paid fairly.

The union is calling for an overhaul as swiftly as possible. That would ensure the ongoing rollout of the 2023/24 wage rise is applied properly to reflect work undertaken.

UNISON Northern Ireland head of bargaining Anne Speed said: “Staff are still not being paid fairly for their work because of the delays in sorting out this mess.

“Reform of the pay structure in schools is long overdue. This strike will send a strong message that it must be addressed without further delay. 

“The Department for Education in Northern Ireland can’t continue to wring its hands and do nothing. Officials must allow the Education Authority to begin talks to settle this dispute.”

Notes to editors:
– Details of picket lines at schools across Northern Ireland are available on request.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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