School buses and meals to be affected as Education Authority workers start 7 day strike

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School bus services and school meals are likely to be affected as the workers in the Education Authority begin a seven day strike tomorrow over pay and grading issues.

Unite the Union said its members employed by the Education Authority will start seven days of strike action starting June 15th following ‘an overwhelming ballot result in which 94% of Unite members voted for strike action’.


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Education Authorities workers to start a seven day strike tomorrow says Unite the Union.Education Authorities workers to start a seven day strike tomorrow says Unite the Union.
Education Authorities workers to start a seven day strike tomorrow says Unite the Union.


A Unite spokesperson said: “The strike results from the failure of the Department of Education to implement a pay and grading review. The review would see significant increases to the pay of Education Authority workers but its implementation has been prevented as a result of the punitive budget set for the Department by the Secretary of State for NI.

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"The strike involves more than 700 education workers and will extend for seven weekdays. Schools across NI are likely to experience significant disruption as a result as Unite's membership includes school bus drivers, escorts and maintenance workers, catering staff, classroom assistants, playground supervisors, school administrative staff, cleaners, building supervisors and ground maintenance staff.”

The General Secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham, said: “It is totally unacceptable education workers in NI have been denied this improvement as a result of this punishing budget set by the Secretary of State. This budget is not enough to maintain education services – let alone offer any protection to education workers in the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.

“Chris Heaton-Harris’ brutal austerity budget is the cause of this strike action. Unite’s members working in education can be guaranteed the full support of this union in their fight for decent wages and to safeguard education services in NI.”

Kieran Ellison is lead Regional Officer for Unite in the Education Authority workforce said: “Our members working for the Education Authority have had enough. With a 94% majority they voted for strike action and we are now commencing seven days of action. If we do not see any movement to improve the budget or deliver the pay and grading review, this strike is likely to escalate further in the new academic year.

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“Responsibility for the impact that this strike will have resides squarely at the feet of the Secretary of State. He has set a brutal budget that fails our children, fails our schools and fails the workers who deliver the service.”

A spokesperson for the Education Authority (EA) said: “The Education Authority (EA) has been notified by Unite the Union that members across the organisation plan to take part in industrial action from Thursday 15th June (commencing at 00:01) to Friday 23rd June 2023 (ending at 23.59) in relation to a trade dispute linked to the EA Pay and Grading Review.

“As a result of planned UNITE strike action, we are expecting some disruption, including to EA home to school transport (yellow bus) services and school meals services. The strike action is also likely to impact on the availability of some Classroom Assistants, particularly in Special Schools.

“We are continuing to implement a range of contingency measures ahead of the further strike action and are working very closely with all schools to minimise disruption for children and young people, particularly those children with special educational needs, as we very much recognise the impact this will have on pupils, schools and families.”