Another Education post

The Labour Relations Agency are to intervene in the classroom assistants dispute, despite, as the BBC report, “The idea of going to the LRA was ruled out earlier this week by the Department of Education and the education and library boards, who said it was “too soon to intervene”.” And with the news that school bus drivers, apparently, share the same “point of principle” as the Education minister.. and with the report that, “It is understood that the talks will not just cover clarification of a deal currently on the table”.. a reminder of the minister’s last statement on the current offer.

“I emphasised that no classroom assistant will lose any pay and no-one will be forced to work longer hours. In addition, there will be full salary and pension protection. I repeated my belief that all unions should consider this offer.”

Adds Belfast Telegraph report on the LRAs involvement

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  • DC

    “And with the news that school bus drivers, apparently, share the same “point of principle” as the Education minister”

    Classic situation, now the bus drivers are hitching their wagon, if you like, to the Minister’s statement on a point of principle. What next, will it be other service providers, but what’s the point, if the bus drivers don’t transport the kids, well then there isn’t much point, regardless of any point of principle, in keeping the school open!

    What a complete farce but fully understandable, I mean what’s sauce for the goose surely is sauce for the gander. Non?

  • A navvy writes

    The Belfast Education Board suits tried to stage a stunt at Glenveagh School this morning which backfired leaving pupils in a distressed state.
    A number of points have been raised after the stage-managed stunt failed.
    1) Why was the the school, which does not have any NIPSA classroom assistants, been closed all week?
    2) The board knew on Wednesday that a number of bus drivers had voiced concerned to their employer that they could not consciously cross a picket line.
    3) The drivers had asked that if the school be re-opened and a picket line in place then procedures would be put in place to take individual pupils into the school without the picket line being compromised. It was agreed, the drivers claim, that teachers would collect each individual pupils and bring them into the school.
    4) Having closed the school to pupils but not staff why was the decison then made to re-open?
    5) Why was the press tipped-off on Wednesday evening that an ‘event’ would be happening at Glenveagh on Thursday morning.
    6) Board managers knew that striking NIPSA classroom assistants would not ask the drivers NOT to cross the picket line as it would constitute secondary action and leave the drivers open to legal proceedings.
    The NIPSA picket line was only there to ask their classroom assistant members who were working on the four-school site not to cross the picket line which is their only legal right.
    7) Earlier in the morning, a number of buses and cars carrying pupils made their way past the picket line without any incident.
    Indeed, according to NIPSA some of the pickets helped bring pupils into the school before they returned to the picket line.
    8) Why were the drivers from this particular transport company, who aired their views about the picket line, forced to join up and form a convoy when normally they would just enter as individuals.
    9) Why were senior officials and the chairman of the education and library board in the building at that time?
    10) The drivers who were forced into a convoy by their employer realised ‘a game was afoot’ and parked away from the picket line and waited for teachers to come out and bring the children in.
    11) While the drivers parked up the awaiting photgraphers had no pictures – the one where the convoy pulled up to the picket line and the drivers doing an about turn because of their own conscious decision not because of a NIPSA request.
    12) Why did the board management having no ‘scoop’ then allow the children to sit in the buses for three-hours in a distraught state and then delcare the agreement that teachers bring the pulils in had been overturned on health and safety matters and told the drivers to take the children home?
    13) The drivers now face disciplinary proceedings.
    14) Then to add insult to injury the chairman of the Belfast education board, who was inside witnessing the events unold,
    speaking in a cringing manner on BBC newsline this evening, spoke of his horror at seeing the pupils being distressed.
    Yet when asked did he know that the drivers had expressed their concern at crossing a picket line on Wednesday he refused to answer whenhereplied: “Now I don’t want to get involved in these type of details.”
    He also had the effrontery to declare that NIPSA had not balloted their members for this strike.
    Not only is the man a complete muppet because, if that was the case, then the strike would be illegal.
    It isn’t – NIPSA classroom assistants voted by 93% for strike action following full consultation before, during and after all the proposals were put on the table.
    How come this complete muppet is chairman of the Belfast education board.
    My view, after all these shenanigans, is that something stinks to high heaven and it was perpetrated by the employers.
    Am I surprised – not really.
    Now, all parties have a chance to resolve the dispute with the Labour Relations Agency finally stepping in to offer its services.
    About bloody time! What’s been holding the LRA back from offering its statutory services?
    There’s obviously another tale to tell there once this dispute is resolved!

  • Sean Og

    NIPSA are in real trouble now. The strike isn’t working and assistants are drifting back to work. The other Unions aren’t backing them. Parents are getting p*ssed off and the public isn’t interested because it only impacts on a few special needs kids.

    The LRA have been brought in to provide a fig leaf to allow NIPSA to get off the hook they find themselves on. As a Trade Union, it’s easy to take members out on strike for principles but harder to take them back to work on a compromise.

    I reckon a deal has been done that will allow NIPSA to declare they are now satisfied with the employers offer without actually achieving what they went on strike for.
    That’s the way all strikes end.

    These low paid workers have not been served well by their trade union officials. The other unions have played a smart game and their members will get the same deal as NIPSA members without the loss of pay or bad feeling associated with a strike.

  • barnshee

    “I reckon a deal has been done that will allow NIPSA to declare they are now satisfied with the employers offer without actually achieving what they went on strike for.
    That’s the way all strikes end”

    Not really– if not resolved with reasonable satisfaction the event will leave a running sore which will flare up later

    The questions posed by navvy expose the charade the Board were involved in —
    boot the lot out along with our apparently dumb minister

  • huh? I don’t get it, how far away were these buses from the schools 20 metres? could the children not have got off straight away?

  • All over now. You can’t get middle class union members to go back up the hill after they have just come down it.

    NIPSA officials know they have nothing and they have let their members down.

    Sad; but predicable.

  • “And with the news that school bus drivers, apparently, share the same “point of principle” as the Education minister”Classic situation, now the bus drivers are hitching their wagon, if you like, to the Minister’s statement on a point of principle. What next, will it be other service providers, but what’s the point, if the bus drivers don’t transport the kids, well then there isn’t much point, regardless of any point of principle, in keeping the school open!What a complete farce but fully understandable, I mean what’s sauce for the goose surely is sauce for the gander. Non?