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Teachers and ambulance workers to stage 24 hour strike

Unprecedented industrial action is set to take place across Northern Ireland this Friday (13th March) as teachers and ambulance workers stage a 24 hour strike in protest against sweeping cuts and job losses throughout the Education and Health sectors.

The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) announced the strike after 79% of its voting members opted for industrial action. The teachers’ union says the result of the ballot shows the anger of its members against the “cuts agenda” and said the profession was being “ripped apart” by £28m in cuts to the aggregated schools budget.

Education Minister John O’Dowd last week estimated that around 500 teachers and 1,000 support staff will be lost as a result.

With a large percentage of INTO’s 7,000 members in Northern Ireland working in the Southern Education and Library Board area, schools throughout the district will be affected by the one-day strike.  The INTO Northern executive will meet today (Monday 9th March) to decide on other action, such as targeting the Department of Education.

Meanwhile the Unison health workers strike also takes place on Friday with ambulance workers set to walk out for 24 hours. The union says it has made proposals for emergency cover during the strike and has called on the ambulance service to identify external ambulance workers who can be deployed on the day and to inform the union of any gaps that may exist in cover.

In a statement released to The Examiner the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said,

“NIAS recognises and respects the rights of its employees to take industrial action and as such we will work with local Trade Union representatives to implement agreed protocols at local level to ensure the continuation of safe patient care which remains our priority at all times.”