UNISON Northern Ireland

NJC Pay Ballot 2021

After years of declining pay, education and council workers have had enough. It’s time to take action on pay – enough is enough!

School support staff and council workers went above and beyond during the pandemic. You kept communities safe and ensured schools remained open throughout successive lockdowns.

You went out to work, so that others could stay home.

Despite this, you have been offered 1.75%. With inflation running at over 3%, this is a real terms pay cut. 

That’s why we are asking members working in schools and councils to vote for strike action. If this applies to you, you will receive important voting papers through the post in early December. Every member must post their ballot back by 10 February.

Details on the current offer

The pay offer falls far below what school and council workers need and deserve.

The final offer would provide:

  • A 1.75% pay increase (2.75% to those on the lowest pay point)
  • Completion of work on term time only arrangements
  • Discussions on homeworking and mental health joint guidance
  • Commitment to incorporate statutory provisions on neo-natal leave and pay

What members need to do

1. Post back your ballot 

We will send your ballot paper in early December. Keep your eyes peeled and make sure you use your vote. It is vital that we get a high turnout. We must hear from everyone – every role, every workplace, every pay band! Every member must post their ballot paper back using the freepost envelope so it reaches us by 10 February.

If your ballot is lost or spoiled, you can get a replacement by logging into ‘My Unison’ at my.unison.org.uk or call the hotline on 0800 0 857 857.

The hotline is open until 3 February.


2. Vote yes! for action on pay 

We know going on strike is not something you do lightly. Your job is incredibly important, and people rely on you.  But your employer has made you, and other school and council workers, an unfair offer.

1.75% might sound like it’s better than nothing – but with inflation well above 3%, it’s a real terms pay cut. This year, every pound in your pay packet will really count.

It comes after a decade of declining pay. The value of your pay is now 25% lower than it was in 2010! Year after year, it’s been chipped away.

Unless we say ‘enough!’, your pay will fall further, and those holding the purse strings will get away with it. It’s time to take action. 


3. Tell your colleagues 

If your colleague is not a member of UNISON, that means they won’t be able to vote, so make sure you tell them to join by 3 January to have their say! They can join online, it takes 5 minutes.

Join online

4. Get involved 

A range of useful materials are available to help you spread the word:

Order and download leaflets

Download a poster to stick up in your workplace

Use brand graphics on digital materials and posts


Use our hashtags #VoteYes! and #EnoughisEnough to join the conversation.