Classroom assistants to strike

With the union recommending a ‘Yes’ to strike action, the result shouldn’t have been a surprise to the Education Minister but now it’s official, classroom assistants are to hold a one-day strike next Wednesday, 26 September, with a rally in Belfast – more on the Nipsa action here. And as Nipsa stated when they called the vote [pdf file]

The Education & Library Board Panel carefully considered the views of members and has confirmed that the strike action intended will be a rolling programme of action – moving to ALL OUT STRIKE.

More, including the Department’s brief response, here Update According to the Sinn Féin Education spokesman, Paul Butler MLA, “Sinn Féin has given its full support to the classroom assistants in their campaign for better pay and conditions.” Hmm.. and what does the NI Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane, have to say.. beyond approving the offer the unions have rejected..

  • patrique

    It is now obvious that there is little hope for Norn Ireland.

    Education, a topic which should appeal to any parent, does not receive any posts on this site.

    Now if it had said “Catholic/Protestant classroom assistants we would probably be up to about 250 posts by now.

    Still a long way to go.

    I think I might be lonely doing secondary picketing, if this site is a judge. Hopefully it is just a case that all of the bigots post here, and the enlightened do not.

  • Pete Baker

    While I might agree with the sentiment, patrique, your ire should be directed at commenters, not posters.

  • Alan Law


    You’re being a trifle pedantic!

    Patrique makes a valid point.

    The failure of the Education employers to make a real and meaningful settlement will result in a lot of heartache for parents, teachers and classroom assistants (many of whom will reluctantly withdraw their labour). How any one can justify a pay cut as a settlement to a pay claim is beyond reason.

  • Rubicon

    I understand that the classroom assistant issue is tabled for debate at the Assembly next week. Perhaps that’ll generate more interest in the issue?

  • Pete Baker

    A quick note that there’s an update to the original post.

  • Turgon

    I have to admit that although my youngest child’s education will suffer I support these people striking though sadly it probably will not help their very valid cause. Their rates of pay seem abysmal.

    To be honest though the pay for teachers in general is pretty woeful. In Northern Ireland we are in a situtation where teaching is still a popular career and there are falling pupil numbers. Hence, there is no need to look for teachers. The situtation in GB seems the opposite but the government seem (for obvious reasons) utterly unwilling to adress one of the major problems and pay them more.

  • patrique

    Pete, I am proud to admit that I do not do computer speak. A bit of arrogant, superior snobbery on my part, but there you go.

    Was the “thread” bit right?

    And the update was an obvious attempt to garner more interest, by the simple expedient of mentioning Sinn Fein. However the discussion would then have ignored the issues.

    These people are being treated as serfs. I know that by rejecting the European Charter of Fundamental Rights Britain and The Republic of Ireland intend treating all workers as serfs, but the acceptance of it shown by the lack of interest on this board is astounding.

    It could be a while before “bread and butter” is more important than flags and emblems.

    The old story about the ducks in the park is still good. A man threw a Union Jack to them, and the ducks ignored it. He then threw a tricolour, ignored as well. Then he threw lumps of bread and the ducks got seriously interested.

    Clever animals, ducks.

  • Pete Baker


    On my earlier comment, I admit that I get irked by the mis-characterisation of ‘Slugger’ based solely on the contents of the comments zone – contents which already take too much time to moderate.

    So excuse me if I seemed brusque. I raised the topic becuase I thought it was important/interesting and/or both. That’s the criteria I use.

    On your most recent comment

    “And the update was an obvious attempt to garner more interest, by the simple expedient of mentioning Sinn Fein. However the discussion would then have ignored the issues.”

    Yeah. ‘Cause contrasting the silence from the actual Education Minister with the apparent support of one side in the dispute from her party’s designated official spokesman on Education is irrelevant to those issues you want everyone to focus on. Obviously.

    I’m still waiting for you to actually comment directly on the topic.

    Beyond the “These people are being treating as serfs” agitprop, that is.

  • patrique

    Education is the most important thing in the world. If the people in Norn Ireland had been educated, there would have been no troubles. Educated people would not have believed that Saddam was about to invade and conquer the USA, and the list is endless.

    And we are selling schools, undermining resources, and offering the vital classroom assistants, paid even less than Civil Servants, to take a pay cut?

    By denying people an education the powers that be ensure that the downtrodden, most of us, will never catch on and meekly accept their lot. Imagine that the protestant working class had been educated in N.Ireland instead of being treated as “poor white trash”, how long would the Unionist party have lasted. Probably until 1929 I would imagine.

    And by not educating people Governments can start unjust wars, and kill more people in a month than the IRA or UVF would have dreamt possible in a decade.

    Given todays prices, think of houses, the minimum wage should be £25,000 per annum, a target easily reached by taxing the rich. I mean serious rich people can be asked to struggle on a net £5 million per annum, I am not a communist, and the poor could struggle on £25,000.

    Or we could have both parents doing two jobs each, and then moaning about dysfunctional children, and saying “I blame the parents”.

    Or we could blame all evil on cannabis, that seems to work in the present uneducated society.

    In short these classroom assistants need our support and help. Or we can stand by, content to be duped by a powerful, mega rich few.