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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 20:49 GMT
No agreement in classroom talks
Protestor holding a poster
Nipsa members could resume strike action
Trade unions and employers have failed to come to an agreement over the classroom assistants' dispute.

It is thought that members of the Nipsa union, who have rejected a pay offer, are now likely to go back on strike.

Nipsa's John Corey said every effort had been made at Tuesday's talks to secure proposals which could be recommended to its members.

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane said she was extremely dissapointed no agreement had been reached.

"On 28 September an improved offer was made by the employers. An extra 15m would ensure every classroom assistant received a one-off payment," she said.

"This is on top of the 30m already identified for the job evaluation exercise.

"The other three unions have stated their intention to continue detailed consultation with their members on the offer of 28 September.

"I would now call on Nipsa to do likewise, so every individual member knows exactly what the offer would mean for them."

After two weeks of negotiations there appears to have been little progress in the pay and job evaluation dispute.

Nipsa said unless its demands over job evaluations are met it will call more than 2,000 of its classroom assistant members out again.

The union has said it will hold meetings with its members on Thursday to discuss its course of action.

BBC Northern Ireland education correspondent Maggie Taggart said: "The mood is that the strike action will resume, but to what extent is not clear."

The employers have asked Nipsa to exclude special schools from any strike action.

The other three unions, who were not on strike, are to ballot their members on the existing deal.

Earlier this month, 10 days of strike action closed more than half of special schools in Northern Ireland.

Maggie Taggart reports on the talks

Classroom strike talks continuing
26 Oct 07 |  Northern Ireland
Union suspends classroom strike
15 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

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