Members of the Post Primary Teachers Association say they're bemused and outraged by a speech given by Education Minister Anne Tolley.
During a speech last week to a meeting of the union's regional representatives, Ms Tolley read them a children's book about a rat called Riley who is happy to make do with less. At times she turned the book around to show them the pictures.
The minister says it was intended to be light-hearted and there was no underlying message. "It was a book I was sharing with them that was very humorous...and I thought that they might find it as funny as I did."
But PPTA president Kate Gainsford believes the minister was sending a clear signal about the coming pay round. She says the last line of the book is that you have to be happy with a lot less.