Pay Talks Proposal as Industrial Action Looms; Management Committee Makes Last-Minute Appeal

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), November 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

Pay Talks Proposal as Industrial Action Looms; Management Committee Makes Last-Minute Appeal


Byline: KAREN QUINN

AS thousands of Ulster teachers decide on whether to take industrial action in a row over pay, the Department of Education has made a last minute appeal for talks to resume.

It has also warned that, the longer the dispute drags on, the longer it will be before teachers' pay progression can take place.

The call came just hours after the Association of Teachers and Lectures (ATL) confirmed that it would join the other main teachers' unions in balloting members on the possibility of industrial actions.

The move follows the breakdown of talks with management over threshold payments.

The Department's salaries committee is refusing to backdate a pounds 1,000 pay settlement, which unions claim is owed to thousands of senior teachers - a payment which has already been made to their colleagues in England and Wales.

As a ballot of teachers begins today, the committee has urged them to carefully consider all the facts.

It says the acceptance of an independent inquiry's recommendations means that some 12,500 teachers would be immediately eligible to move from point one (pounds 28,668) to point two (pounds 29,730) backdated to September 1, 2003.

Chairman John Miskelly said: "We have made it clear, throughout the negotiations, that we unequivocally accepted the independent inquiry's package of recommendations, for we believe they offer not only a very realistic middle-ground solution to the dispute itself but also an excellent package for Northern Ireland's teachers. …

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