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Education Minister Michelle McIlveen
Christopher Leebody Twitter Email
Visits by the Education Minister to some schools in Northern Ireland are set to be halted as a result of industrial action from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).
The NAHT are starting action short of a strike and according to BBC NI has told members not to “cooperate with unsolicited ministerial and senior civil servant” visits.
The union, which represents more than 500 principals and vice-principals across the province, has issued instructions to members around refusing to facilitate visits by the minister or other Department of Education officials.
According to the instructions, those members would also not “provide information to employers regarding staff participating in industrial action”.
The instructions include not providing information, data or financial planning to employers in the department or Education Authority.
In a statement to BBC NI, Dr Graham Gault from the NAHT said: “The failure of management to address over a decade of pay erosion has brought us to this point.
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"In truth, the remuneration for school leaders has been reduced by almost 30%.
"Not only has this had a devastating impact on the morale and wellbeing of our current principals and vice principals, it has begun to impact in serious ways on both retention and recruitment for the profession."
Teachers in Northern Ireland began industrial action last week after voting overwhelmingly in support of action in a pay dispute.
Members of the National Education Union (NEU) have been joined by members of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) and the NAHT.
Teaching unions rejected a pay offer earlier this year. Unions said the offer of a 3.2% increase over two years consisted of a restructuring of pay grades which meant many teachers would get less than that and that the impact of the cost of living had not been taken into consideration.
NASUWT members began action short of striking in May, affecting duties including covering for other staff, overseeing exams, lesson plans, inspections and parent meetings.
A Department of Education spokesperson said: “We recognise that teachers have a right to vote for, and participate in, industrial action.
“Engagement is currently ongoing between Management Side and Teachers’ Side of the Teachers’ Negotiating Committee (TNC) on a teachers’ pay settlement. Management side remains committed to resolving issues regarding teachers’ pay through discussion and hopes to find a resolution as soon as possible.”
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