INTO members say ‘dysfunctional’ educational system lacks value for teachers
By Eleanor McGillie
Members of Ireland’s largest teacher’s union will find out on Thursday if enough votes have been cast to take industrial action over Northern Ireland’s ‘dysfunctional’ education system.
INTO, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, held its annual conference last week where Education Minister John O’Dowd told members that no amount of placard waving would stop the austerity agenda.
But speaking this week, Gerry Murphy, the union’s Northern Secretary, said it’s not the placards Minister O’Dowd needs to be looking at – it’s the faces of the teachers carrying them.
He said: “The Minister told us that waving placards won’t stop the austerity agenda. Perhaps it would have been appropriate for the Minster not to look at the posters but to look at the faces of those carrying them.
“Let’s get real. The Education Minister initially proposed cuts of £162.5million to the education budget. That would manifest in the loss of approximately 2,500-3,000 jobs at the very least, 3,000 jobs that would not be replaced.
“We have 6,647 members in Northern Ireland – 2,147 of which are in the SELB area. These are the people delivering our children’s education right across the community and they have had enough. As parents, and as communities, we all need to look at the negative impact this has on our children, our teachers, our communities and our economy.
“INTO members have heard nothing from the Minster to either inspire or encourage them that better times will arrive. They have heard nothing to convince them that he is prepared to fight to put education centre stage and demand an economic rethink to address the strategic importance of education.
Mr Murphy said Stormont’s lack of respect for teachers has resulted in a rousing endorsement for the union’s executive decision to ballot for industrial action.
He added: “Our members have listened and they have agreed that no one in Stormont values teachers, no one puts any value in the education system other than to produce statistics and no one cares about the future of the children of today or the economy they will emerge into. INTO cannot let this scenario play out.”
The results of the ballot will be announced on Thursday (March 5, 2015).
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. Our Northern Office is based at Vere Foster House, 23 College Gardens, Belfast. #NIConf2015
- For interview requests or further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379| Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Public Relations PR Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Education PR Northern Ireland UK | Brand Journalism Experts |