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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Labour agency for classroom talks
Protestor holding a poster
About 3,000 Nipsa members are on strike
The Labour Relations Agency is set to become involved in the classroom assistants dispute.

Employers of classroom assistants have agreed to allow talks in the dispute over pay and re-grading to go to the mediation body.

Meanwhile, children at Glenveagh Special School in south Belfast have been able to attend classes for the first time since the strike began.

Pupils went home on Thursday when bus drivers would not cross picket lines.

More than a dozen buses turned back and the chief executive of the Belfast Education and Library Board said it was highly regrettable that children did not get to school.

It was reported that drivers were told teachers would take the children beyond the picket line but that was later considered unsafe, so the children were sent home.

Staff at the school are not on strike, but it has been closed during the industrial action because it shares an entrance with two other schools which are affected.

Three thousand members of Nipsa are staging an indefinite strike over job re-grading.

The idea of going to the LRA was ruled out earlier this week by the Department of Education and the education and library boards, who said it was "too soon to intervene".

Now they say they are responding to the favourable reaction of unions to the idea and will allow talks to take place.

It is understood that the talks will not just cover clarification of a deal currently on the table. However, so far the terms of the talks have not been formally spelt out.

One of the unions, Unison, has confirmed it will take part in them.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Classroom assistants and parents protest at Stormont



SEE ALSO
School helpers strike escalates
08 Oct 07 |  Northern Ireland
Ruane asked to help in class row
05 Oct 07 |  Northern Ireland
Schools hit as strike continues
03 Oct 07 |  Northern Ireland
Pay offer put to school helpers
02 Oct 07 |  Northern Ireland
Unions divided over school action
28 Sep 07 |  Northern Ireland

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