UNISON Northern Ireland

Education support workers start industrial action in pursuit of pay justice.

UNISON education support service employed by the Education Authority will begin action short of strike on Monday 16th October across hundreds of schools and EA workplaces.  Thousands of UNISON members in roles as classroom assistants, general assistants, in catering, cleaning, transport and estate management will work to rule. 

The action arises from an ongoing dispute on failure to complete a review of the NJC pay agreement which governs pay structure across the Education Authority. The review has been promised since 2019.  While UNISON members acknowledged the Covid pandemic had interrupted normal engagements, opportunities since then to move negotiations have not yet been grasped.  The EA has not managed to secure funding from the Department of Education to facilitate negotiations.  Education workers like health workers are now caught in limbo which is overseen by a draconian budget issued by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.  But UNISON members are not prepared to stay silent or accept being squeezed in this way. 

The cost-of-living crisis has hit this lower paid mainly female workforce hard.  They are pushing back and demanding their reasonable expectation of pay justice be met.