Union suspends Northern Irish classroom strike

Members of the Nipsa union have voted to suspend their strike in the dispute over classroom assistants' pay.

Submitted by Ed on December 3, 2007

Members will take part in industrial action today (Monday), which was voted on at the weekend, however the overall strike will cease from Tuesday.

Three other unions representing assistants have accepted a deal which added an extra £15m to compensate for changes in work conditions. Nipsa represents more than 3,300 classroom assistants in NI.

Its general secretary, John Corey, said it was important that the strike went ahead on Monday.

"The decision was taken by classroom assistants at meetings across Northern Ireland over the weekend," he said.

"They, quite frankly, are outraged and disgusted at what happened last Friday when the joint negotiating council reached an agreement which seeks to enforce these changes on classroom assistants' terms and conditions.

"Classroom assistants decided, democratically this weekend, that they would take strike action today to demonstrate their disgust against that.

"The employers are seeking to impose a change against the wishes of the majority of classroom assistants."

Job evaluation
Mr Corey said the union had not been defeated and that its campaign would continue.

However, Catherine O'Doherty, a Nipsa member, and a classroom assistant at Pennyburn Primary School in Londonderry, said she did not agree with the strike suspension.

"It undermines our days of strike, which our union called us out on," she said.

Nipsa members have taken 16 days of strike action in total. It is the only one of four unions refusing to accept the proposed job evaluation process and the only one to have taken industrial action in the dispute over pay and conditions.