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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Unite union confirm date for further strike action in December

Unite the Union flags

Unite the union has today notified the Education Authority of a further 24-hour strike by school support staff commencing at 00.01am on Friday 1 December.

The strike action follows two days of industrial action last week and is timed to coincide with a strike by public transport workers on bus and rail services.

The industrial action follows a ballot of Unite members which returned a 94 per cent majority for strikes in pursuit of a pay and grading review to help address the chronic issue of low pay among education support staff.

The strike is likely to cause significant disruption to many schools given the concentration of Unite membership in school bus transport, catering, admin, cleaning, classroom assistants and other roles.

The timing of the strike will mean that Unite members working as school bus drivers are taking strike action alongside Unite members in Ulsterbus, Citybus and the Glider who also provide school transport services.

The strike is the latest development in Unite’s ongoing industrial dispute over the failure to deliver a 2018 pay and grading review for education workers which was subsequently negotiated on the back of industrial action by Unite in 2022.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:

“The failure to implement the pay and grading review leaves our low paid members working in the Education Authority no alternative but to escalate their strike action. The school support staff workers have the full and continuing support of Unite in their campaign for fair pay.”

Unite has previously revealed that a business case for a pay and grading review of low-paid support staff was submitted by the Education Authority to the Department of Education on February 6 with revised versions sent in on March 28, June 15 and September 18. Despite these submissions, the Department of Education has yet to request the required additional funding for the cost of the review from the Department for Finance.

Unite regional officer Kieran Ellison said:

“The pay and grading review needs to be urgently progressed but the Department of Education is obstructing its implementation by failing to request the funding needed to pay for it.

"The permanent secretary and the department bears full responsibility for the continued strike action by school support workers.”


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