Schools across Co. Armagh are facing disruption today (Thursday) as thousands of non-teaching staff went strike amid a row over pay.
In what is billed as one of the biggest strikes among non-teaching unions in years, the unions: Unison; GMB; and NIPSA have today joined Unite the union, who commenced its strike yesterday.
All are engaged in a full day of strike action, with the exception of NIPSA, who are striking for two hours after the start of their shifts.
Among those taking to the picket lines were staff who gathered at the Education Authority building in Armagh.
The unions have said the strike is the latest development in an ongoing industrial dispute over the failure to deliver a pay and grading review to education workers.
Those who have walked out of hundreds of schools in Northern Ireland include; cooks, cleaners, drivers, classroom assistants and other staff.
The Education Authority have said the strikes will lead to “significant disruption” in areas such as yellow buses, school meals, cleaning services and classroom assistant availability.
Department of Education Permanent Secretary, Dr Mark Browne previously described the strikes as “particularly disappointing” noting that there would be a “major impact” on “our most vulnerable children”.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is simply unacceptable that the Department of Education continues to renege on the implementation of a pay and grading review that has been negotiated by the Education Authority with Unite.”
Alan Perry, GMB Senior Organiser, added: “In the worst cost of living crisis, workers deserve decent pay. Cleaners, cooks and classroom assistants – along with non-teaching workers – do vital work for our children’s education. They shouldn’t be left wondering how they’re going to pay their bills. The Education Authority needs to sort this as a matter of urgency.”