Dickson Exasperated by Dodds’ Hands Off Approach to FE Lecturers’ Pay Dispute
East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has written to the Minister for the Economy expressing his concerns regarding the ongoing dispute around Further Education Lecturers’ salaries.
Mr Dickson has said that: “Lecturers have seen very small increases in pay over the past seven years at 3.8%. In real terms this effectively represents a cut in pay.
“Lecturers are also concerned that any pay increase will be made dependent on adverse changes to their terms and conditions of employment.
“Our Further Education lecturers make an extremely important contribution to our education sector, and it is vital that we properly recognise and compensate them for their work, now and moving forward.”
With the pay dispute ongoing, Mr Dickson asked the Minister if she would do more to encourage fuller engagement with the lecturer’s and their Union representatives.
In her response, the Minister explained that she does not think it appropriate for her to engage with the lecturers’ and their Union representatives at this stage, even though, as sponsoring department, the Department for the Economy is required to exercise: “Meaningful oversight of the Arm’s Length Bodies strategy and performance, pay arrangements…” (Managing Public Money NI).
Mr Dickson said: “It would of course be inappropriate for the Minister to act in a way which would not meet the requirements for impartiality and objectivity. However, the Minister also said that she would: “Ask anyone with influence to encourage both parties to continue to engage in negotiations” – is she not in such a position of influence?
“Once again, I find myself exasperated by the Minister’s hands off approach to her Ministerial responsibilities.”