Principal backs striking teachers

PARENTS are facing disruption next Tuesday as Fermanagh’s teachers are set to walk out on strike.

The Herald understands that the vast majority of Fermanagh-based schools will be observing the industrial action next week that will last half-a-day.

Parents have been informed that schools will not be open to their children on the morning of February 21 but that they will be allowed in for the afternoon from 12pm.


School buildings will be open, only non-teaching staff such as classroom assistants and administrative staff will be inside while the industrial action is being observed by teachers that morning.

The dispute is over pay with teaching unions saying they are being paid below the rate of inflation and are insisting on a wage rise to match it.

One Principal of a school in Fermanagh, who asked not to be named, said they fully understood why teachers are walking out on strike and fully supports their stance.

The Principal said: “Like all public sector workers, teachers – in terms of their pay over the last 10 to 12 years – are like doctors, nurses, firemen, ambulance service, the Crown prosecution service in that they have seen a ‘real terms pay-cut’.

“So I can understand the frustration of teachers and everyone in the public sector workers in the current climate.

“While it’s been pointed out that this will inconvenience people, nurses going out on strike inconveniences people as well as it does when other public sector workers feel that they have to take this action.

“It is frustrating for people that politicians and the government don’t seem to be able to understand the needs of teachers and other public sector workers.”


The Principal also highlighted that the teacher training graduates are looking to jobs in the Republic and the Middle East in order to earn higher wages in order to clear off their student debts quickly.

They added: “Just like nurses, there are a lot of teachers heading off to Dubai for a year or two as well. What’s happening now is that graduates are coming out of college with debts of £30,000 to £40,000.

“They’re heading off to Dubai where the remuneration is huge compared to what they’re getting here. The climate is different, the teaching environment is very different, there’s a value that’s maybe put of them out there in terms of their work.

“So a lot of them are heading out there to teach in order to clear off their debt and also to enjoy life.

“They’re also taking posts down South that pay higher wages – although the cost of living in the Republic is a lot higher than it is in the North.

“But undoubtedly, pay, terms and conditions are a lot higher down there than they are here.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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