again the most vulnerable in our society, the young
and lowly paid, are being attack by New Labour.
The direct rule minister for education operating
from Stormont, Barrie Gardener, has imposed drastic
spending cuts on the 5 education boards in Northern
Ireland: this year £31.6 million will be wiped
off school spending followed by larger cuts in 2006/07.
These cuts will affect not only every education
worker in Northern Ireland but every child.
ongoing dispute between the government and the education
boards over restructuring the boards' make up: "the
government want the 5 boards amalgamated in to 1;
the boards don't want change, claiming that the
government want to reduce our education system to
the poor standard of England." The non-teaching
staff are faced with the loss of thousands of jobs,
essential workers such as Classroom assistants,
Cooks, Catering assistants, Janitors and maintenance
workers, Cleaners, Canteen and Play Ground supervisors,
School Bus drivers, and School Crossing patrols
most of these workers only get 16 hours work
a week. Thus, any reduction in their hours will
disable them to claim working families tax credits,
forcing many workers on to the unemployment lines
while enabling the privatising of the these essential
and children will also suffer greatly with classroom
numbers rising while the number of classroom assistants
will fall; special needs children will be forced
into mainstream education without the help of special
care teachers; services such as cross community
programs to tackle sectarianism in Northern Ireland
will be lost forever. This year the 5 Boards will
cut spending on:
total of £33.193.000. These figures are inclusive
of some elements of savings already implemented
in 2004/05 (source: Steering Group meeting on
26th January 2005, published by Staff Commission
for Education and Library Boards Forestview. Purdy's
Lane. Belfast BT8 7AR).
unfair and unjust cuts on our already stretched
education services will result in the total collapse
of our education system, all because Tony Blair
would rather bring our standard of education down
to that of England rather than spend the money need
to raise the English standard up to ours. While
being able to find £70 Million for loyalist
paramilitaries and wasting hundreds of millions
on the discredited Stormont Assembly, and yet he's
not found the money needed for our children's education.
4 main trade unions operating in the education system,
T&G, GMB, NIPSA, and UNISON, have been left
with no choice other than ballot their members for
industrial action, and are scheduling a one-day
strike on Friday 13th May. All parents should be
persuading education workers in their child's school
to vote positively for industrial action.
strike is not about wages or terms and conditions
as elements of the media have portrayed it, it's
about your child's future education and the privatisation
of school services.
Northern Ireland Public need to know the truth about
the dire straits the education system is in. To
date, 32 Councillors have resigned from the education
boards in protest at the reductions. This is not
enough; our political parties must do better.
would call on the Irish Congress of Trade Unions
to call on all education workers, all political
parties, from anarchists to the DUP, parents, and
students, onto the streets of every City, Town,
and Village of Northern Ireland on May 13th, to
stand hand in hand and join the fight, not only
to defend our children's education: I remember when
Snatcher Thatcher took the children's milk; Tony
Blair and New Labour want to take their future.
Saturday, the T&G launches their campaign against
the education cuts. Join them at 11.30am outside
Transport House, High St, Belfast.
them and send a clear message to Blair and the local
political parties: OUR SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC SERVICES
ARE NOT FOR SALE.