A union representing many NI school principals is to ballot its members on strike action for the first time.
The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) represents principals and vice-principals in about two-thirds of Northern Ireland’s 1,100 schools.
In a previous indicative ballot, NAHT members voted overwhelmingly to proceed to a vote on industrial action.
The union has now served legal notice that it is going to formally ballot its members for possible strike action.
BBC News NI understands school leaders will be asked if they want to back either strike action or action short of strike.
A draft agreement has been reached between teaching unions and employers to end that dispute, but it is still ongoing.
The NAHT president in Northern Ireland, Geri Cameron, said the failure of the Department of Education and other teaching employers to resolve that situation had contributed to the head teachers’ decision.
“Continued industrial action by teaching staff during this time, coupled with a lack of a functioning executive for the past three years, has pushed NAHT(NI) members to their limit,” she said.
“Our members have been left over-worked, under-valued and without protection and support in their time of greatest need.
“They have now begun the new school year with no change on the horizon.”
Ms Cameron said that school leaders’ concerns included workload, the inspection process, consultation and support for schools.
“There is a demonstrable depth of feeling amongst principals and vice-principals across Northern Ireland that now is the time for action,” she said.
“Whatever action we may take will be directed towards the employers and we will work towards minimising any impact upon learners and their families.
“Of course, we hope that employing bodies will provide a meaningful response to help bring this dispute to an end before we go to ballot.”
BBC News NI understands that the ballot is likely to take place in mid-September should the union’s concerns not be addressed.
Original Article : HERE ;
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