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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 09:15 GMT
Teachers 'may step up action'
Test paper
The pay row is over backdated salaries for senior teachers

Northern Ireland's teachers' unions have said they may step up their industrial action in support of a pay claim.

They say their next step depends on a meeting on Tuesday with the Labour Relations Agency.

Teachers' unions voted to take industrial action because they are facing a shortfall in a pay increase, compared to colleagues in England and Wales.

The employers' offer to go to conciliation received a lukewarm reception, but now the unions have said they will meet at the Labour Relations Agency to judge whether there is a serious willingness to negotiate.

If not, the unions could decide to step up the industrial action which up to now has had little impact outside the school staff.

It has mainly consisted of a refusal to work extra hours or to take part in new education plans.

The unions have already decided to more closely co-ordinate the action and to give clearer advice to teachers.

The employers met at the Labour Relations Agency on Monday and said they were glad the unions have decided to go to conciliation.

BBC NI's education correspondent Maggie Taggart
"Teachers' unions voted to take industrial action because they are facing a shortfall in a pay increase"

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