‘Time for teachers to focus on the future’ – Weir

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Monday, November 28th, 2016
Politics
teach2Teachers must focus on pupils and the future now that pay negotiations have concluded. That was the message from Education Minister Peter Weir who said that negotiations for 2015/16 and 2016/17 were over and that teachers had been treated fairly and in line with the Northern Ireland Executive Pay Policy. Speaking during an Education Committee briefing, the Minister said, “I want to acknowledge the quality of our teaching workforce and the significant contribution they make to the education and development of our children. “I have always stated that my first priority is to pupils. It is my job to find the right balance between protecting schools budgets and delivering a fair increase to teaching salaries. “Negotiations for teachers’ pay for 15/16 and 16/17 concluded on 12 October when the teaching unions confirmed that the pay discussions were over. In effect, the unions rejected the management side offer,” he continued.
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nov-22-2016“I believe teaching unions should reflect again on planned disruption, as industrial action is not in the interests of children, schools or teachers themselves. I would urge them to go back to the negotiating table for future years and to accept that the pay offer they walked away from is as good as it is going to get for 2015/16 to 2016/17.” Outlining the October offer, the Minister said the overall pay deal equated to an increase of 2.61%. He continued, “This two-year pay award is realistic in the current difficult financial climate. It is not a pay cut. The 2.61% deal equates to £26 million to be found from within the Education Budget. It includes incremental progression for September 2015 and 2016 – something which teachers in England and Wales do not receive. “All teachers in Northern Ireland will receive a 1% pay increase payable from September 2016. It must also be noted that during extensive negotiations from July last year, better offers were made by Management Side to teaching unions, which were also rejected.
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nov-22-2016-big-boxWeir added, “Teachers’ pay negotiations for 2015/16 and 2016/17 have now been and gone so any strike action is futile. Teachers engaged in a day’s strike action will lose a day’s pay, effectively much of the 1% the unions are saying they are fighting for. It is time for the situation to move on and focus on the future.”

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