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To all our members in:

- Education support services

- Controlled and Maintained schools 

- Integrated Schools 

- Voluntary Grammars 

- Irish language medium schools


Dear Members, 

Some news on our campaign to secure funding and begin implementing pay improvement

At the invitation of Education Minister Paul Givan Education support service trade unions met this week with officials from his Department. Led by the Deputy Permanent Secretary, the delegation also included senior management from the Education Authority.

UNISON members in their thousands are profoundly disappointed to hear the NI Executive decision on the 2024 NI budget. Their hopes that a longstanding promise to resolve a pay and grading review have been dashed.

We hear very clearly that all parties have said that they support the workers' cause, but they do not have the money. Workers now need to know what they are going to do to get it.

Our members' determination to succeed will become even more evident over the coming days and weeks. There is no doubt that calls to resume picket lines will be heard.


Today trade unions met with the Minister for Education, Paul Givan, to discuss the Pay and Grading Review for non-teaching education workers. Following the meeting, the trade unions have agreed to commence preparations for further industrial action.

UNISON members in the Northern Ireland health service on Agenda for Change pay, terms and conditions have voted to accept the restoration of pay parity with NHS England.


Over 29,000 thousand UNISON members were invited on line and though direct mail to give us their verdict.  They have given us a clear response.  Some 77.2% voted yes while 22.8% voted to reject. 


Following on from the statement by the new Education Minister  where he said

“I am committed to resolving the issues around the business case and will be bidding for additional funding in Executive’s Budget 2024-25 to enable the recommendations from the pay and grading review to be implemented.”

UNISON have launched a campaign to win broad political and public support for pay improvement.

Today (11th March 2024), UNISON, the largest union in Northern Ireland representing thousands of education support services workers, will hold a seminar at Parliament Buildings, Stormont (5pm), as part of the union’s ongoing campaign calling for the introduction of universal free school meals in Northern Ireland. The event is sponsored by Nick Mathison MLA, Chairperson of the Assembly Education Committee. It is co-sponsored by Pat Sheehan MLA, Deputy Chairperson of the Education Committee, and Committee members Cara Hunter MLA and Robbie Butler MLA.

UNISON members in the Health Service welcome the news that pay negotiations have concluded and that an offer will be published today.

Thousands of health workers will have pay parity restored on their pay bands and will receive an unconsolidated lump sum for all staff on Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions.

The return of devolved government, a new Executive and a new Education minister have led many support service workers to expect early progress on pay improvement through a pay and grading review.

Unions were told funding to support pay improvement is not included in the first tranch of money set aside to solve public sector pay disputes. It is now clear that those workers who have not yet received a cost of living pay rise will be prioritised in the payout.


UNISON’s successful involvement in the Agnew case at the UK Supreme Court means that you may have a claim against your employer if you work regular overtime or are in receipt of other payments like commission pay, or bonuses; and these payments are not included in your holiday pay.

Please access the page via the link below and read the Explanatory Note to identify if you may have a claim. You will also be able to access a short questionnaire.