Newry.ie

INTO (Irish National Teachers Organisation) Southern Area held protests this morning at school gates at St Joseph's Boys' High School Newry, St Patrick's PS Crossmaglen and St Mark's Warrenpoint to highlight the damaging effects of cuts in Education and the fact that teachers have experienced pay freezes and effective pay cuts since 2010/2011.

INTO stage a protest at St Joseph's HS in Newry.
INTO stage a protest at St Joseph's HS in Newry.

INTO representative Kevin Daly said "Teachers in Northern Ireland are paid 16% less than their counterparts in other OECD countries while at the same time producing some of the best literacy and numeracy scores in comparable countries.  

"School budgets have been slashed, class sizes are rising, resources are dwindling, basic repair and maintenance of classrooms and school buildings is being left unattended due to lack of finance and all the while teachers workloads increase and the conditions in which they and their pupils work are becoming increasingly difficult."

The union rep added "The Department for Education has denied teachers any kind of cost of living increase for 2015/16 after more than a year of negotiations and imposed a paltry 1% 'increase' for 2016/17, which is actually a real terms cut in wages taking in to account inflation and the recent increase in National Insurance contributions.  

"Lets not forget that teachers, along with other public sector workers, the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly, the students we teach and communities we serve are paying for the economic mistakes and excesses of a wealthy elite and the unnecessary and damaging austerity policies forced upon us.  

"The result is  also economic damage to local businesses as schools and their employees are curtailed in their ability to spend with them, so this is a campaign which is in the interests of the people of the north of Ireland, the people of South Down, South Armagh and Newry.  Our message to the Minister, to Stormont and to Westminster is that we care too much about education and our society to stand by and watch them devalue and damage it."

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