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Classroom Assistants struggle for justice

category derry | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Thursday January 17, 2008 09:16author by , - NIPSA Report this post to the editors

Fighting for workers democracy

Classroom Assistants are entering a new phase in their struggle for justice and democracy. In the lead up to a negotiating meeting during the Classroom Assistants dispute both the Employers and UNISON publicly claimed that the “majority of Classroom Assistants have accepted the offer”.

NIPSA Classroom Assistants always suspected that this was not the case and following a
Freedom of Information request to the 5 Education and Library Boards NIPSA has been provided with the following data for those staff that pay their unions subscriptions via checkoff (through their salary):-

NIPSA 2679


GMB 243

UNITE (T&G) 22

These figures are based on data provided by the Education and Library Boards and reflect the position at November 007.

It is clear from these figures that the majority of unionised Classroom Assistants have not voted to accept the offer.

Over the next days and weeks NIPSA will be doing all in its power to have the collective agreement, which was forced through the JNC on 30 November 2007 suspended. This is because the decision was undemocratic and did not reflect the wishes of the majority of Classroom Assistants trade union members.

NIPSA has written to the Northern Ireland Assembly Education Minister, Catriona Ruane pointing out this stark reality and seeking an urgent meeting with her with a view to ensuring that she intervenes in the current undemocratic process and re-opens the negotiations to ensure the democratic rights of Classroom Assistants are protected.


In addition the Chief Executive of the Southern Education and Library Board in addressing the Northern Ireland Assembly Public Accounts Committee on 9 November 2007 in response to the following question from John Dallat, MLA
“…….Let us say that NIPSA agreed today to ballot their classroom assistants. Would you welcome that? Would you ensure that the boards took no action that would cut across the ballot?


“I am happy to respond. I would greatly welcome a ballot. That is the objective that the Boards seek from NIPSA, and we would do nothing to hinder it; rather we would wait for the outcome of the ballot.”

The very next day the Boards did a u-turn and forced through the Collective Agreement at the JNC.

NIPSA understands that when MLA’s sought to raise this at the next Public Accounts Committee the Chairperson of the Committee, Mr John O’Dowd refused to allow a question on this matter. NIPSA has written to the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee seeking to challenge and question his response.

Classroom Assistants remain determined to win a democratic and just solution to their struggle.

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