Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin outline support for classroom assistants

24 September, 2007

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson, Lagan valley MLA Paul Butler has welcomed the Education Minister's call for the Trade Unions and the Education Library Boards to meet today to try and resolve this long running dispute and also her call for the boards to implement the new grading so that money can be released into the pay packets of classroom assistants immediately.

Speaking in a debate on the issue of the long-running pay dispute between classroom assistants and the Education Library Boards Mr Butler said:

"Sinn Féin has given its full support and backing to the Classroom Assistants in their campaign for better pay and conditions over many years. Sinn Fein have stood on the picket lines when Classroom Assistants took industrial action and publicly supported them in their campaign.

"Since the debate about this in June there was a lot of criticism levelled at the minister that she was doing nothing to resolve this matter. I would ask what have those who lined up in June to attack Caitríona Ruane - what have you done to try and get a resolution to this dispute? I suspect the answer to that would be very little.

"Sinn Fein fully recognises that Classroom Assistants play a vital and important role in the education of our children. They deserve and are entitled to pay and conditions of work that fully reflect their important role in education.

"I hope that even at this late hour we can avert industrial action, which is due to take place this Wednesday. Sinn Fein support the call for the Minister of Education to try and intervene in this dispute.

"We need to see all sides in this dispute getting around the table to try and reach agreement if we were to go down the road of these amendments it would not help the situation." ENDS

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