This week marks a pivotal moment for our political stalemate, with Thursday's General Strike set to be one of the largest strikes in Northern Ireland for decades.
Ahead of the strike, NUS-USI President Chloe Ferguson has issued a statement saying students will stand in solidarity with workers this Thursday:
"The frustration among workers is mirrored in the sentiments of students across Northern Ireland. We, too, are fed up, sick and tired of waiting. The impending Day of Strike Action
provides an opportune moment for students to unite with workers, sending a resounding message that enough is enough.
"As the cost of living continues to rise, our collective impatience grows, and we demand tangible solutions from political decision makers in Northern Ireland. Many students are at their wits’ end, putting up with soaring rents, juggling extra work on top of study, and struggling to put food on the table — we cannot afford to let student poverty to be normalised.
"In the face of uncertainty, let us stand together, workers and students alike, and declare that our voices will not be silenced. We cannot afford to be held hostage by political manoeuvring, and the time for action is now. The unity demonstrated on 18th January should serve as a catalyst for change, inspiring a renewed commitment to address the needs of all our citizens.”
ICTU’S Assistant General Secretary Gerry Murphy welcomed the support of civil society organisations and said:
"The trade union movement welcomes the support of our allies in civil society. Many of the workers in these organisations are members of unions and are also suffering the devastating impact of loss of funding and below inflationary pay."
He went on to say
“In the face of the Secretary of State’s indefensible withholding of an agreed pay rise, public sector workers will take to the streets on 18th January to demand that he stops playing politics with their livelihoods. The Secretary of State has already agreed that public sector workers are due a pay rise and has admitted that he has the money. Repeated invitations to meet with the collective trade union leadership have simply been ignored; rather than doing his job and paying hard working people, he continues to withhold the pay rise as a bargaining chip to try and get the Executive re-formed. The trade union movement is calling out this cynical tactic and has a clear message for Mr Heaton Harris ‘Pay up now’."
Take action for the General Strike, sign our Cost of Survival Petition
Students are at their wits' end, putting up with soaring rents, juggling extra work on top of study, and many are struggling to put food on the table — meanwhile, as our political stalemate draws on, students and workers are being used as pawns in a political game.
Want to take action for the General Strike to support students? Sign our Cost of Survival petition and call for urgent support for students: Cost of Survival - National Union of Students - NUS-USI