Unite the Union reveals plans for a two-day education strike mid-month in pay dispute

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The trade union Unite says its members in the Education Authority will walk off the job for 48 hours from November 15.

This marks an escalation of a dispute over a negotiated pay and regrading review which had already led to workers commencing a work-to-rule on 23 October.

The union said that the strike is likely to cause “significant disruption to many schools given the concentration of Unite membership in school bus transport, catering, admin, cleaning, classroom assistants and other roles”.

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In a statement on Tuesday night it said: “The strike follows a ballot of Unite’s membership which returned a 94% majority for industrial action.

A mural on the old Unite building in central BelfastA mural on the old Unite building in central Belfast
A mural on the old Unite building in central Belfast

"Other Education Authority support staff trade unions are coordinating industrial action on 16 November - including Unison who have a 24-hour strike and NIPSA which is conducting targeted strike action.

"The strike is the latest development in Unite’s ongoing industrial dispute over the failure to deliver a pay and grading review to education workers as part of a negotiated resolution of the 2022 pay dispute.

"Unite has argued that the pay and regrading review is needed to ensure staff retention.”

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In a further statement, Unite regional officer Kieran Ellison said: “Responsibility for this escalation in industrial action lies wholly with the obstructive behaviour of senior management at the Department of Education who have failed to act.

"They have brought on this strike by failing to seek funding from the Department for Finance to deliver the pay and grading review.

"Months later and we are still waiting. It is high time that we see a pay and grading review delivered to education workers to tackle the retention issues and bring to an end the strike action.”