SDLP Education Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan has said that strike action by teachers can be avoided by reaching a fair pay agreement.
He was speaking after five teaching unions confirmed a full day of strike action on April 26.
Mr McCrossan said teachers should not have to take such drastic action to get the pay rise they deserve.
West Tyrone MLA Mr McCrossan said:
“The SDLP stands fully behind our teachers and their unions who have taken this very difficult decision to hold a full day of strike action as they continue their fight for fair pay and working conditions. No teacher wants to find themselves in this position, but their pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears. That the National Association of Head Teachers has taken the decision to strike for the first time in their 125-year history says everything about how serious this situation is.
“Teachers and their unions have been fighting for fair pay for years as their jobs get harder and harder due to repeated cuts to our education budget. They are not immune from the cost of living emergency hurting everyone in the North and many are finding it a real struggle to keep their heads above water, with a massive decrease in their real-terms salary over the last decade.
“This situation could have been resolved long ago had employers and the government listened to teachers and taken their concerns seriously. We cannot allow our children and young people’s education to be disrupted as a result of this strike action and I would urge fresh negotiations to begin to avert this strike action and reach an agreement that values the contributions of our teachers and other education staff.”