Teachers Union defers strike in respect for Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness as he signed his resignation letter
Martin McGuinness as he signed his resignation letter

Teachers Union INTO has deferred its planned half day strike on Thursday following news of the death of former Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness

The action was planned at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, over the ongoing pay dispute.

Gerry Murphy, Northern Secretary of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), took the decision to defer the action as a mark of respect and recognition of Mr McGuinness's contribution to education.

He said: "INTO, as a mark of respect and in recognition of Martin McGuinness's contribution to education as a whole, is deferring the half day strike and accompanying protest at Parliament Buildings, Stormont planned for Thursday, March 23.

"The Employing Authorities have been notified of this deferral today and notice of future INTO actions will be communicated to both our members and the employers through the appropriate channels.

"INTO remains in dispute on the issue of pay with the employing authorities and we hope that a resolution may be found before INTO is forced to announce another half day strike."

Mr Murphy said Martin McGuinness made a huge contribution to the entire education sector.

Mr McGuinness recently said his role as education minister was his favourite of all those he had filled while working in politics.

Mr Murphy added: "Martin McGuinness was the first education minister of the devolved era and he made a hugely positive impact on the entire education sector.

"I want to extend the sympathies of the INTO to the McGuinness family, to his wife Bernie, his children and grandchildren and the wider family circle.

"His service as Education Minister was characterised by an intelligence and warmth that was accompanied by real investments in both the schools estate and the educational workforce.

"Martin attended a number of INTO Congresses and Northern Conferences. His contributions to these gatherings were insightful and at times challenging and was always warmly received."