Article from the May 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

Teachers demand firmer action

FOR THE last year teachers in the North have been on industrial action over an imposed break with pay parity with teachers in England and Wales. So far the Government has not budged. The industrial action while pleasing to teachers - because they are on a work to rule - is not effective enough.

Last week the Minister of Education said that if teachers here didn't comply with Gordon Brown's dictate of reform first, pay later, he would abolish the upper pay scales altogether.

The Minister has seen a weakness. He has seen a weakness in the disunity of the NITC and has put a gun to the teaching union's heads. They have reacted not by calling one day strikes but by calling for more negotiations.

The mood among teachers is totally different to what the bureaucrats in the teaching unions are calling for. Teachers in classrooms are totally frustrated by the inaction of the leadership.

They want their unions to step up the action. There must be no sell out. A date should now be set for a one-day strike as a first step. We should link up with civil servants, firefighters and others who are in dispute. We should also tie in with the growing opposition to the privatisation of schools. By standing together we can force this Government to pay attention.

By Mary Cahillane, Executive Committee member INTO

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