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Latest Northern Ireland strike solid

16 November 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

Strike action in Northern Ireland FE branches on 16 November was once again strongly supported by members, reports regional official Jim McKeown.

UCU congratulates members there on their continuing commitment to the campaign to get their employers to honour a pay agreement moving lecturers towards parity with school teachers.

Picket lines were established from early morning and branches reported strong support from students and the public. There was also significant press coverage considering that we are into the fifth day of strikes. Branches report many instances of interviews with local press and politicians and encounters with members of governing bodies.

A large and very effective demonstration of around 120 members lasting all morning was organised at the North West Institute to support the six official pickets. In Belfast 200 members plus, supported by other unions such as NASUWT, NIPSA and the Belfast Trades Council demonstrated again outside Adelaide House. Regional official Jim McKeown and Chairperson of the Belfast Institute Branch Monica Goligher addressed the demo as did NASUWT national officers Gerry Bartlett and Sue Rogers. A letter urging action by the minister Maria Eagle was handed in.

From 3.00pm onwards UCU members in Belfast demonstrated at the graduation ceremony at the Spires Centre - UCU member Jo Bryson organised a number of members to make UCU coloured ribbons and asked students and their parents to wear the ribbons to the graduation ceremony and in support of their teachers: hundreds did so - this was a very effective and highlighted the warmth and esteem felt by students towards those who helped them gain their qualifications.

The Belfast branch is encouraging lecturers to wear the ribbon throughout the dispute to demonstrate their solidarity with the industrial action.

Messages of support and congratulations on yet another massive show of solidarity by UCU members in FE in Northern Ireland were received from General Secretary Paul Mackney, UCU head of equality Roger Kline, head of FE Barry Lovejoy and ex- National President Jon Bryan. Paul Mackney has written to secretary of state Peter Hain urging him to find a solution to the dispute and stating his willingness to meet to discuss the issue.

The FE sector committee will meet on 29 November at 1.30pm in the Ballymac Hotel (outside Lisburn B101 going towards international airport) to review the campaign of action.

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