Northern Ireland: classroom assistants' talks continue

Northern Ireland: classroom assistants' talks continue

Employers and unions in the classroom assistants' dispute are meeting for an eighth day of face-to-face negotiations at the Labour Relations Agency.

A confidentiality clause has been agreed by employers and unions meeting at the agency, but it appears there has been little progress.

Strike action over job regrading could be resumed if the negotiations fail. A previous strike by one of the unions involved, Nipsa, led to the closure of 27 special schools for 10 days. Three more days of talks are planned before the deadline of next Tuesday.

Nipsa's action was suspended to allow for further talks, but the union said its strike would resume if its main demands were not met, and it is making contingency plans to call its members out again. Its hardship allowance has been raised from fifteen to twenty five pounds a day.

After Tuesday's deadline, the other three unions in the talks are expected to go ahead with their plans to ballot members on the employers' offer.