Teacher Strikes Across The North

People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin on the INTO picket with strikers 29 Nov 2023

Fighting for Pupils – Fighting the Cuts – Fighting the Tories

People Before Profit commends teachers for taking strike action in defence of our children’s education and their own living standards.

We know that teachers and all education workers go above and beyond for our young people, yet they have seen their pay cut by 25% in the past decade alone. The money teachers are paid clearly isn’t reflective of their responsibilities, their efforts, or the pressures of this cost-of-living crisis.

A real pay rise for teachers is an absolute necessity in the face of soaring costs. However, it must be said that this strike is as much about school pupils as it is about pay. It is about securing investment in our education system to allow children to thrive.

Mammoth effort and self-sacrifice by teachers is keeping schools afloat, but this is clearly unsustainable. We cannot recruit and retain teachers with the offer of measly salaries and mounting workloads. Teachers and parents should also not have to subsidise school materials out of their own pockets.

Last week, we saw other education workers – classroom assistants, bus drivers, cleaners, and more – take strike action. We believe the best way to win fair pay for all across the public and private sector is to coordinate and combine the strikes we’ve seen so far. Many will be going out again this Friday together with Transport Workers

When teachers are on strike, they should be standing with striking nurses, classroom assistants and all who are fighting for a better deal.

Tory Budget: An Attack on Education

Cruel budget cuts enacted by the Secretary of State and his hateful Tory colleagues are punishing education workers and impinging pupils’ right to an education.

Since the Tories took power, education spend has been cut by over £13.8 billion across these islands. Schools are operating on a shoestring, many school buildings are falling apart, and those who educate our children are surviving on inadequate wages.

Public services, including education and health, have been decimated as the Tories give handouts to their wealthy allies.

This same government has overseen the worst decline in living standards since records began.

We know that the money exists to pay workers what they deserve. This government says there’s money for war, but no money for schools.

It commits resources for Israel’s mass slaughter of Palestinian children, but refuses to provide for our own schoolchildren and teachers.

Today’s strike action must be seen as part of a wider fight to smash this Tory government and improve the living standards of all working class communities through a radical redistribution of the wealth in our society.

Stormont: Break the Austerity Cycle

The DUP’s self-serving Assembly boycott has exacerbated the hardships faced by our communities.

The Secretary of State wants to punish the public for the DUP’s actions. But we cannot expect a local Executive to return and save the day either.

It was Stormont Ministers – the DUP, Sinn Féin, Alliance, SDLP, and UUP – that first implemented the pay cuts that led to this strike action.

For years, Stormont tailed the Tory economic agenda. We cannot trust them to do any different if Stormont is restored.

Now that they are out of the Assembly, they cry crocodile tears about the lack of a pay rise for teachers and others.

An Assembly built on a shaky foundation of sectarianism and communal designation will always be prone to crisis and can never truly deliver for ordinary people.

But as workers of all backgrounds strike together for better pay and investment in services, we see a glimpse of a better future.

Recent strike actions have done more to unite working people than years of divisive, communal horse-trading at Stormont.

INTO and NASUWT teachers picketing at St Gerards in West Belfast.