9th Apr 2020

In October 2016, the Ulster Teachers’ Union along with all the other Teaching Unions (Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council NITC) rejected an offer that saw our pay frozen in 2015/2016 and a rise of 1% in 2016/2017.

In December 2016, we balloted members for industrial action. At that time, we won a mandate for action short of strike, and the UTU action over pay and workload started in January 2017.

From that time the General Secretary Avril Hall-Callaghan and her successor Jacquie White have negotiated, alongside our NITC colleagues, with Management side.

In June 2019, details of our negotiations appeared in the press. At that time the Stormont Assembly had collapsed and we could not move forward in our negotiations.

The reestablishment of the Stormont Executive and the appointment of an Education Minister has meant that our negotiations could move forward. For the past few months we have waited for the London Government Budget and the Finance Minister was able to announce his own funding to the Executive at the end of March. The timing of this announcement was out of our control and would have been made despite the COVID-19 crisis.

The agreement which has been reached between the Teachers’ Side and the Management Side of the Teachers’ Negotiating Committee includes a pay uplift for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 and a series of nine reviews and a range of other immediate actions. Details of the offer are available on the DENI website, the UTU website and have been emailed to C2K accounts or NISTR accounts.

The CEC have been informed at all stages of the negotiations by our NITC representatives led by Jacquie White. On Wednesday 8 April the CEC met and, after careful consideration and debate, CEC recommend members to ACCEPT the deal. CEC have laid out plans to electronically ballot members from NOON on Friday 17 April to NOON on Wednesday 22 April. The CEC will then meet and decide using the results of this indicative ballot and instruct our General Secretary to accept or reject the offer made.

Details of the deal are available to all teachers and in the coming days we will issue FAQs to members. As always, our Officials, CEC members and Branch / Area Associations Chairs and Secretaries are available to answer your questions.

In summary, CEC support the offer and urge members to ACCEPT the deal.
FAQs will continue to be published. Questions and dialogue are welcomed from members.
Electronic ballot will take place from NOON on FRI 17 APRIL to NOON on WED 22 APRIL 2020.
CEC will meet after 22 April and will direct the General Secretary of the decision reached.
Please be assured that this is our first step. If this agreement is accepted the UTU will immediately be asking for a further uplift to the cost of living for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.

Stephen McCord