INTO to launch major lobbying campaign which will dominate 2016 election trail
By Eleanor McGillie
THE Northern Secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) is expected to confirm it will be launching a major lobbying campaign on a scale which is unprecedented in Northern Ireland in the run up to the election.
Speaking at the 148th Northern Conference tomorrow (FRIDAY) Gerry Murphy , who will address Education Minister John O’Dowd in Templepatrick, will confirm that INTO will rigorously campaign to place education to the top of politicians’ agendas.
Speaking ahead of Congress, Mr Murphy says he will tell delegates that the only way to secure more money for education is to ensure education is at the heart of the Executive’s policy making.
He said: “We need to get more money into the education budget. We need to protect our members, their jobs, their terms and conditions. We need to invest in our children who are the next generation of economic drivers. We need to invest in the future of society.
“This opportunity lies in a concerted effort in the run up to the Assembly election on the part of all teaching unions to force education to the top of politicians’ agenda.
“Our campaign will involve lobbying on a scale unprecedented in the north. Our goal is to ensure our campaign will dominate the election trail. Education must be at the centre of discussions at every household door in Northern Ireland.
“Everyone wants the best for their children. This will be at the heart of our campaign. Education is not some luxury we can do without. And the people who deliver, every day, every year are our teachers. They must be valued.”
Mr Murphy is also expected at tomorrow’s Northern Congress to also reiterate the union’s full support for the Investing in Teaching Workforce scheme and will demand the pay talks will resume.
Mr Murphy said: “In relation to the Investing in Teaching Workforce scheme, I want to be clear. INTO supports this scheme. We want this scheme to run. We do not want 500 potential new jobs to be lost. That’s not in anyone’s interest. The scheme doesn’t provide employment for every teacher not in full time employment, but, for those teachers, we will continue to support them in their quest to find full time employment.
“In relation to teacher’s pay, the one per cent pay offer currently on the table for teachers neither motivates or rewards. It is insulting and derisory. Pay restoration needs to become a reality and the focus of talks. Any pay offer which does not reflect the effort and work put in is a recipe for total chaos.”
Other key issues on tomorrow and Saturday’s agenda includes entitlements for sub teachers namely sick pay. Mr Murphy said the Minister and employers hiding behind regulations dating back to 1993 is not acceptable.
Mr Murphy will also be focusing on the decline in school budgets and school governance.
He added: “During the conference school budget decline and school governance will be key issues. Support services for children have become reduced and access to them will become much more difficult. Teachers are growing increasingly frustrated at their inability to access essential and necessary services for pupils in their care.
“In relation to school governance, as a trade union we will continue to seek to resolve issues which arise in schools. Rarely, case resolution becomes impossible but this is often because governors refuse to take advice or act contrary to advice. We will be asking the Minister at conference to address this problem.”
NOTES TO EDITOR:
- INTO is the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation. It is the largest teachers’ union in Ireland. INTO has a Northern Office and a Southern Office. The Northern Office is based at Vere Foster House, 23 College Gardens, Belfast.
- A media table is available at tomorrow and Saturday’s conference. Kevin Cooper is the photographer at conference and will send pictures to picturedesks as normal.
- Conference hashtag is #INTOCONF16
- Webcast link – http://www.into.ie/NI/NewsEvents/NorthernConference/NorthernConference2016/Webcast/http://www.into.ie/NI/NewsEvents/NorthernConference/NorthernConference2016/Webcast/
- For interview requests or further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379| Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Experts | PR Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Education PR