The Upper Bann MLA said,
“Teachers across Northern Ireland will currently be comparing their situation to colleagues across the rest of the United Kingdom who have received a 6.5% pay rise. It is not a lack of political will however that is the main stumbling block to equivalent pay increases here in Northern Ireland.
As with the Department of Health, the Department of Education would not have the budgetary resources for pay awards decided locally. Those financial constraints will continue exist whether or not an Executive is restored. It is a matter of fairness however to teachers in Northern Ireland that this issue should be sorted out.
Schools need clarity whether the announcement of increased school funding by the Education Secretary at Westminster represents new money and will bring any additional funding to Northern Ireland. However, even a short-term boost will not fix the overall problem.
We are witnessing a widening of the gap between terms and conditions for teachers here and in the rest of the United Kingdom. It is at lower pay levels where our teachers are significantly underpaid compared to their counterparts in Great Britain.
The pay gap will only continue to widen unless Treasury acknowledges that this isn’t just about internal allocations within the Northern Ireland budget, but is due to a failure of how the Barnett formula funds public services in Northern Ireland as a whole. The Northern Ireland Fiscal Council has highlighted these issues and how they will be set to worsen over coming years.
Inaction on the Barnett Formula is failing Northern Ireland and is failing our teachers.”