NI Education: “Severe disruption” due to School Staff Strike

Due to the strike action by four major unions on Thursday, November 16, schools are expected to experience significant disruptions and possibly closures.

Thousands of non-teaching staff in the education sector are represented by Unison, Unite, the GMB, and NIPSA.

This covers bus drivers, caterers at schools, teaching assistants, housekeepers, and other support personnel.

The failure to modify their salary and budget cuts to education are the reasons behind the unions’ strike action.

They said that a long-standing review that would have resulted in wage increases had not been implemented.

On Thursday, employees of the Education Authority (EA) who belong to Unison, Unite, and GMB will strike for the entire day, while NIPSA members will strike for two hours following the start of their shifts.

Employees of Unite who work for the EA will likewise go on strike on Wednesday, November 15.

In order to “ensure the proposals are fully justified and affordable,” the Department of Education (DE) stated that it is keeping up its communication with the EA over the details of the pay and grading business case.

A spokeswoman continued, “There is a substantial cost attached to the proposal that the EA and trade unions have put forth.”

According to the department, the yearly recurrent cost of the EA will increase to £71 million after three years, from an initial annual implementation cost of £39 million.

“This would be on top of any annual national salary increase from the NJC (National Joint Council).

“However, there is currently no budget available to implement this without further funding being made available.”

According to the EA, efforts have been made to determine how this decision would affect services and schools.

“We are taking steps to mitigate the impact of the action, however, due to the large number of staff anticipated to be involved in the planned action, we are expecting significant disruption,” said a spokeswoman.

They stated that this would apply to things like housekeeping services, school lunches, and EA home to school transportation.

A “major impact on the availability of classroom assistants in schools” is another effect it will have.

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