NIPSA the largest of the non-teaching trade unions representing over 7,000 workers responds to the decision by Education Minister Peter Weir to reopen schools without restrictions. Alan Law, Assistant Secretary stated:
NIPSA condemns the contempt shown by the Department of Education and its Minister to the Trade Unions. The latest version of the New School Day guidance arrived for consultation at 17:31 on 11 August with responses expected by 21:30. The guide extends to 70 pages covering the entirety of the reopening of school arrangements. It is ridiculous that anyone would expect a reasonable and considered response to such vitally importance guidance in less than 4 hours.
NIPSA has demanded all references to consultation with the Trade Unions be removed from the guidance. We do not accept that the process which the Department of Education has engaged in is reflective of any meaningful consultation and only provides a veneer of respectability for others to claim that they have consulted with a range of stakeholders to provide justification for the complete change in direction on the safe and responsible re-opening of schools in September.