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Taking action in higher education

Independent advisor appointed for Northern Ireland FE pay dispute

8 October 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

The Northern Ireland FE pay dispute took a new turn today with the announcement of an independent advisor tasked to facilitate an agreement.

The independent adviser, appointed by the Department for Employment and Learning, will be Sir Joseph Pilling, a former permanent under secretary in the Northern Ireland Office.

UCU members have been taking industrial action, including holding seven strike days, since May 2006. The union is campaigning for pay parity with teachers in schools, but agreements reached with the employers in 2004 have not been implemented because of the government's public sector pay policy. Lecturers have had no pay increase since September 2005.

Announcing the appointment, Sir Reg Empey, employment and learning minister, said, 'The terms of reference set for Sir Joseph are: To explore the position of each interested party, including, in particular, the employers and unions and, using the insight that this provides, to facilitate a settlement of the dispute which is acceptable to all interested parties.'

Read the full press release from the Department for Employment and Learning here.