Education welfare workers across the Southern Trust went on strike this week over pay parity with their health service colleagues.
The staff, who are employed by the Education Authority, were demonstrating on Friday and Saturday morning outside the authority’s headquarters in The Mall, Armagh.
Nipsa union representative Helena McSherry said Education Welfare Officers (EWOs) must have the same qualifications as social workers, but their pay scales can differ by up to £5,000 a year .
She said: ‘The School Authority is struggling to recruit and retain staff because of this large difference in pay, as well as attracting people to the profession.
“Education social workers play a very important role in supporting young people and they deserve equal pay.”
A large part of EWO’s work involves working with students who have low school attendance, to ensure they receive the best possible education, as well as supporting students who find education difficult.
The strike is taking place across the province and last week protesters also took their message to Stormont.
Helena said: “Management made us a proposal a fortnight ago and we made a counter-proposal to them. We will have a meeting on Monday and hope they come back to us with a suitable offer.
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