“The sooner the Boards or the Department start talking seriously to us about this dispute..”

Today sees the start of an all-out strike by NIPSA members in the classroom assistants dispute. The BBC report notes that “There are no more negotiating talks planned.” Still no sign of that dose of realism being insisted upon either. NIPSA statement here [pdf file] Adds Via the Sinn Féin website, the Northern Ireland Executive’s Education minister has issued a statementAnd the official website catches up.

“In light of the improved offer of 28th September I would call on those engaged in industrial action to desist from any action that places the burden of the disagreement onto those children and families who most need help.”

From the NIPSA statement

NIPSA General Secretary John Corey said:-

“If the employers and the Department think that Classroom Assistants represented by NIPSA are going to accept the current offer they are far mistaken. The massive support for the 4 days of strike action over the last two weeks confirms the determination of Classroom Assistants to defend their existing employment rights.

Classroom Assistants are absolutely justified in taking strike action which is their fundamental right. To date the Boards and the Department have failed to face up to the reality of the need to engage urgently with NIPSA to resolve this dispute so that Classroom Assistants will return to work.

That failure has all the appearances of the Boards and Department being prepared to sacrifice children’s education to try and impose changes to Classroom Assistants’ contracts of employment and cut pay rates. The sooner the Boards or the Department start talking seriously to us about this dispute the sooner schools can get back to normal.”

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