East Belfast Councillor and Alliance Education Spokesperson, Naomi Long has
said that only a review of pay and conditions for patrol crossing staff can begin to address the large number of vacancies which exist in Northern Ireland.
Cllr Long said there was a particular crisis in East Belfast, as the latest figures revealed that in East Belfast alone there are vacancies at 18 out of 44 Belfast Education and Library Board sites.
Cllr Long said: “There is obviously a crisis in recruitment of crossing patrol staff. If the situation is to be improved, the underlying issue of poor pay and conditions for staff will have to be addressed before children’s lives are lost.
“Many of those who might consider the job are retired and their personal allowances are unfavourably affected by taking on the responsibility. Alliance believes that job sharing options would increase flexibility and encourage greater participation.
“The figures speak for themselves – around 80 vacancies across Northern
Ireland, many of which have been vacant for over a year. There is a local crisis in East Belfast, with vacancies at schools such as Cabin Hill, Strathearn, Bloomfield, Ashfield and Orangefield PS. At Wynchurch two posts have been vacant for almost four and seven years respectively.
“Surely, the lives of our children travelling to and from school are too important to be allowed to be ignored? We must have action on this issue and soon.”