SDLP Education Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan has backed NIPSA’s Education Welfare Officers as they began strike action on Monday.
An overwhelming majority voted to strike due to issues around differences in pay between Education Welfare Officers employed by the Education Authority and social workers employed by health and social care trusts.
West Tyrone MLA Mr McCrossan said:
“I stand fully behind NIPSA’s Education Welfare Officers (EWOs) as they begin strike action today in an attempt to secure fair and equal pay with those doing similar work. EWOs play a vital role in our school community and many pupils and families would be totally lost without them, it’s time this was reflected in their pay packet.
“EWOs provide help and support to the people who need it most and make a huge positive impact on the lives of pupils they come into contact with. It’s extremely regrettable that the Education Authority was unable to come to an agreement with NIPSA members to prevent this strike action.
“Becoming a qualified social worker is no easy feat, it takes years of study and perseverance. To go through all that work and to be paid at a level below your colleagues is completely unacceptable. The strength of feeling among members was clear with over 94% voting in favour of strike action. We need the Education Authority to get around the table and reach an agreement with NIPSA so that our EWOs get the pay they deserve and can return to helping our young people.”