Northern Ireland

NI teachers' unions claim latest pay offer is 'an insult'

Schoolgirl in classroom
Image caption Union representatives have called the latest pay offer "derisory" and claimed it was a pay cut in real terms

Teaching unions have jointly rejected a pay offer from Northern Ireland's Department of Education (DE), describing it as an "insult".

The Northern Ireland Teachers Council (NITC), which represents the five teaching unions, said teachers were offered a 1% pay rise in 2016/17.

They called the offer "derisory" and claimed it was a pay cut in real terms.

A meeting between union representatives and DE officials broke up on Thursday without agreement.

'Last straw'

Gerry Murphy from the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), who is the salary spokesperson for the NITC, said the offer came "with strings attached".

"An offer of 1% was made subject to teachers giving up their right to automatic incremental progression," he said.

"This is the last straw for NITC in what has been a prolonged and difficult negotiation.

"Teachers are being offered between £230 per year for newly qualified teachers and £370 per year for a teacher after 12 years experience.

"In return, they must say goodbye to their contractual right to automatic movement on the pay scale."

'Disgraceful'

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) also condemned the offer, calling it a "severe erosion of teachers' pay".

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, called the offer "disgraceful" and said the union would "give serious consideration to the next steps".

The other unions represented by the NITC are the Ulster Teachers' Union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Association of Head Teachers.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said: "Teachers' terms and conditions matters, including pay, are negotiated through the forum of the Teachers' Negotiating Committee (TNC), and will therefore be dealt with at that forum."

"Pay negotiations are conducted on a confidential basis."

The spokesperson said it would be inappropriate for the department to comment further.

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