Strike action in Northern Ireland

Teacher's pay campaign in Northern Ireland

Since the implementation of the pay-freeze in 2010-11, teachers have lost over 20% of their ‘real-terms’ pay. This has seen the value of the profession devalue as a career choice to the detriment of teachers, pupils, and society alike.

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Northern Ireland Teachers' Council (NITC) unites teachers for powerful action

Together, we stand strong on Action Short of Strike. Our resolve remains unwavering as we pursue fair pay. Join us in solidarity for a just resolution. Stay informed on the NEU website and social media. Your support drives change. Let's value teachers together.

Our guidance on action short of strike (below) remains in place for September 2023. We are asking members to take some time to revisit these actions, and to ensure that they are embedded in their school practice going into the new school year.

NEU as one of the five teacher unions that make up the NITC are acting as one throughout this period of action, and it is vital that our action continues.

On pay parity.  What about us?

The 6.5% award to teachers in England and Wales raises questions about ‘parity-pay’ for teachers across the UK. 

In particular, “What about us?” in Northern Ireland.

At the time of the last pay settlement in April 2020, Northern Ireland’s teachers were parity-level on the teachers Main-scale, and slightly ahead of England and Wales on the Upper pay scale. We have regressed since. 

The 6.5% in England and Wales normally produces a “Stormont consequential” – broadly a formulaic pro-rata amount for Northern Ireland. However, this ‘consequential’ is not necessarily ring-fenced to education, still less teachers’ pay. It’s a sum that goes into the broader Northern Ireland budgetary ‘pot’.

And difficulties arise from this:

  • First, is 6.5% enough?  As you can see from the updated table below, the awards in England and Wales in 2021-22 and 2022-23, with a further gap with Scottish teachers, leave us a long way behind!
  • Second, it is not self-evident that this 6.5% will be offered. In our estimation, the Secretary of State, Chris Heaton-Harris may simply deduct that quotient from the monies ‘owed’ to the UK Exchequer as overspent by the Executive and Assembly in past spending rounds.
  • Third, a political game is being played. Heaton Harris has obliged the NICS to undertake a revenue raising exercise in which areas such as water-chares, prescription charges, charging for school meals and buses have been ‘trailed’ as options. This, undoubtedly, is an exercise in pressurizing the reformation of the Stormont executive, similar to that undertaken by Labour’s Peter Hain in previous times.

In short, NEU – with other teachers and education unions – will be pressing for clarity on the worrying slide away from ‘parity pay’ for teachers.

  • No work not agreed in your time budget.
  • PPA time outside of pupil sessions, to be done at a time and place that suits you.
  • KS3, KS4 and KS5: No internal tracking data added to SIMS.
  • One meeting per term to a maximum one hour with agenda provided 48hours in advance.
  • No new initiatives without trade union agreement.
  • No communications outside of pupil sessions (unless for legitimate child protection/safeguarding)
  • No book scrutiny or classroom observations outside of essential PRSD.
  • No participation in assessment arrangements at the end of Foundation and Key Stages One, Two and Three.
  • No invigilation of external exams.
 England 23/24Wales 22/23*Scotland 1/4/23**Northern Ireland 2020
M6£42,689 £47,565£35,277
UPS1£44,579£41,927 £38,216
UPS2£46,179£43,481 £39,630
UPS3£47,839£45,085 £41,094

*The main scale for teachers in Wales has five incremental steps not 6 and no upper pay scale (UPS).

**After entering at the NQT starting point, teachers in Scotland move up the pay scale annually. From 1st April 2023, the salary bracket in Scotland ranges from a starting salary of £37,896 up to £47,565. This will rise to a starting salary of £38,655 up to £48,516 from 1 January 2024

Industrial action short of strike – Advice for teacher members

Our continuous Action Short of Strike began in October 2022 (Phase 1), escalated in November 2022 (Phase 2), and again in January 2023 (Phase 3).

NEU, along with other teacher unions in NITC advised education employers and the Department of Education of a further escalation from April 2023 (Phase 4).

We are asking members to take some time to revisit these actions, and to ensure that they are embedded in your school for the start of the new school year in September.

Northern Ireland strike FAQ

Now that we have a strong mandate from members for strike action, we are calling on all eligible members to take action.

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