Northern Ireland

NI teachers pay dispute: 'Agreement reached' to end industrial action

Teacher marking, surrounded by books Image copyright PA
Image caption Four of the five teaching unions have been in a dispute over pay and workload

Teaching unions and employers have reached an agreement in principle to end long-running industrial action.

However it has to be approved by individual union members and the Departments of Education and Finance.

BBC News NI previously revealed that teachers were to be offered a 4.25% rise, backdated over two years as part of the settlement.

Extra funding for any pay rise, though, has yet to be secured.

School principals received a joint statement from the unions and employers in an email from Sara Long of the Education Authority (EA) and Gerry Campbell of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS).

End of the story?

Image copyright PA

The long-running dispute over teachers' pay and workload seems to be moving towards a conclusion.

However, there are still hurdles to be overcome.

Teachers will have to agree to the package they are being offered, when they are finally consulted on it.

And the Department of Education will have to be provided with extra money to fund the proposed pay rise.

Ms Long and Mr Campbell have been among the employer representatives negotiating with the teaching unions.

Four of the five teaching unions have been in a dispute with the department over pay and workload.

Many of their members have also been refusing to co-operate with school inspections since 2017.

Principals were asked to share the joint statement with all teachers in their school.

Image caption Unions say salaries for teachers in NI are falling behind their counterparts in England and Wales

BBC News NI understands there are a number of elements to the in-principle settlement including pay, reforms to the school inspection process and reviews into areas like teachers' workload.

The statement said that exact details of the proposed agreement could not yet be revealed.

"Upon receipt of a formal offer, the individual teachers' unions represented on the Northern Ireland Teaching Council will make their own arrangements for consultation with their members," it said.

"The formal offer, if accepted, will bring an end to the current industrial action in relation to teachers' pay and workload.

"In the eventuality of a formal offer being agreed, there will be a carefully managed and supported transition towards revised working practices in schools."

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