North's teachers and civil servants involved in biggest industrial action in a decade

North's Teachers And Civil Servants Involved In Biggest Industrial Action In A Decade
Workers will go on strike later in what trade unions have described as the biggest industrial action in Northern Ireland in over a decade. Photo: PA Images
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Claudia Savage and Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Hundreds of teachers and civil servants will go on strike later in what trade unions have described as the biggest industrial action in Northern Ireland in more than a decade.

NIPSA, the largest union in the North, will be joined by members of PCS, GMB, UNITE and teachers’ unions at picket lines.


The unions say the scale of action means people across Northern Ireland will be directly impacted.

All five teaching unions in Northern Ireland are joining the strike action, with the National Association of Head Teachers striking for the first time in its history in relation to pay.

Schools across the region are expected to close.

A pay award amounting to £552 a year for some civil servants was offered by the British government at the start of the month, but talks with health unions around the same time did result in an offer.


NIPSA say the strike will take place against a backdrop of a sharp decline in the real value of public service pay, the Northern Ireland public service budget crisis and overwhelming cost of living crunch hitting working class communities.

Picket lines will be in place at the Millennium Forum in Derry and at Belfast City Hall.

NIPSA general secretary Carmel Gates said Britain's Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris was imposing sanctions on public services to try and force the North's political parties to return to the assembly.

“The action has been forced in large measure by the government’s decision to implement sanctions in Northern Ireland,” she said.


“The sanctions imposed by the Secretary of State and Westminster are designed to force Northern Ireland political parties to return to Stormont.  In effect, these sanctions only hurt ordinary people and will cause permanent damage to public services.

“The pay award to our members of £552 is insulting and derisory and adds to the wage cut of more than 20 per cent in 10 years.  More than 60 per cent of civil servants now earn below the NI median wage.

“It is time for the trade union movement to say enough is enough. We will build a mighty campaign for pay justice and for an end to cuts in public services.

“I call on every working-class community to join us in this struggle.”


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