“It is very clear that the members we represent are not prepared to accept the offer..”

The GMB union were first to accept the terms and conditions of the offer to the classroom assistants and now Unison has joined them. The smallest union involved, T and G Unite, were split 50/50 on strike action, but have not accepted the offer. Neither have NIPSA whose strike action continues. NIPSA General Secretary, John Corey, has also reiterated the union’s position. [pdf file]

“The Minister and the Education Boards are badly mistaken if they think that the 3000 plus Classroom Assistants represented by NIPSA will stop this campaign without an acceptable resolution. If the Minister wants the dispute resolved urgently so that schools can return to normal, the Minister should be meeting immediately with NIPSA to discuss how that can be achieved.”

Responding to the announcement that the members of a second trade union had voted to accept the employers’ offer Mr Corey insisted that NIPSA would continue to strongly oppose any attempts by the employers to implement fundamental changes to Classroom Assistants’ contracts of employment. Mr Corey said

“NIPSA is the lead trade union in Education Boards and represents more than 3000 of all Classroom Assistants employed by the Boards. The fact that two other trade unions representing far less Classroom Assistants are saying they would accept the offer does not alter our position. If there are any disputes about the respective memberships the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will have to step in and validate the position.

NIPSA Classroom Assistants have already taken 14 days of resolute strike action. It is very clear that the members we represent are not prepared to accept the offer and the
employers cannot ignore that fact. NIPSA will not be standing by and allowing employers to impose detrimental changes to our members’ conditions of employment.”