NIPSA, the leading public sector Trade Union, representing over 8,000 members in the Education Sector, announces lunchtime protests by members employed as Education Welfare Officers (EWOs).

Alan Law, Assistant Secretary commented:

“Education Welfare Officers have been engaged in continuous industrial action to support their legitimate objective of pay parity with social worker colleagues within the Health and Social Care sector. Members involved in the dispute will commence lunchtime protests on Friday 31 March (12:30pm) at Antrim Board Centre.

An offer received by the Education Authority falls short of achieving those objectives. It requires staff to take on a substantially changed role for the immediate award of £887. This is an insult, and the employer knows that we can’t accept it.

They refuse to engage in any meaningful negotiations to seek a resolution and seem content to leave children and young people without an Education Welfare service. In one team, due to waiting list pressures, a referral will take up to one year before it can be allocated to an Education Welfare Officer. The lack of urgency on behalf of the Education Authority to resolve the dispute is compounding the challenges children and young people are facing.

Urgent action is required to address the concerns we have raised and to resolve the dispute.”