Education: NI's main teaching unions vote to accept pay offer

Primary school classroom
Teachers in Northern Ireland have not had a pay increase for three years

Northern Ireland's main teaching unions have voted to accept the pay offer made by Education Minister Paul Givan.

Teachers in Northern Ireland have not had a pay increase for three years and the five main unions have been engaged in long-running strike action.

Members of all the NASUWT, INTO, UTU, NEU and NAHT have now voted to accept the 2021-24 pay offer.

Mr Givan previously said his proposal would bring the starting point for salaries equal to those in England.

He outlined a formal offer on teachers' pay for 2021, 2022 and 2023 to the unions.

'Long overdue'

NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said Northern Ireland teachers were "long overdue a pay award".

"It is disgraceful that teachers have had to wait for three years to receive a credible pay offer," he said."Nevertheless, the teaching profession deserves real terms pay restoration which must now be a priority."

Dr Graham Gault of NAHT said the new starting wage was "more favourable to recruitment" and the overall pay structures were "more favourable to retention across every point in the scale".

"This marks a welcome step towards proper pay restoration. However, many issues remain outstanding for school leaders, particularly around the issue of workload."

However, Dr Gault said there was "much to be done to deliver working conditions for school leaders to ensure that it is a safe and sustainable role going forward".

INTO's Caoimhin MacColaim said that while the pay offer "is not perfect", it represents a "significant and much-needed increase in pay for all teachers and school leaders, during a time of great financial pressure".

The UTU's Jacquie White said it was a "disgrace" it had taken so long to get a "reasonable" pay offer.

However, she added that the offer has "shown what can be done" and "strengthened our resolve to get the very best education system in place" in Northern Ireland.

In a tweet, the NEU said that 89% of its members voted to accept the pay offer and congratulated teachers on a "dedicated campaign of action".

What is the pay offer?

The proposed settlement for newly-qualified teachers represents a 24.3% increase from the current starting salary of just over £24,000, the department has said.

It means the starting salary would rise to £30,000 from 1 September 2023.

The department added that the pay offer also equates to a cumulative total of 10.4%, plus £1,000 being applied to the other teachers' and leadership pay scales.