Wednesday 28 June 2017

ASTI agrees talks to avert embarrassing action over internal staff row

The ASTI is the only union not to have accepted the LRA, which has caused considerable disruption to life in up to 500 schools in the past year, and is also refusing to co-operate with junior cycle changes. (Stock picture)
The ASTI is the only union not to have accepted the LRA, which has caused considerable disruption to life in up to 500 schools in the past year, and is also refusing to co-operate with junior cycle changes. (Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

ASTI leaders have agreed to attend talks in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) aimed at resolving a lengthy internal dispute.

It follows a vote for industrial action, up to and including strike, by the union staff after the leadership refused to attend a conciliation conference at the WRC in March.

At the core of the row is relations between staff and elected officers, including claims that agreed reporting structures are not being followed and that the leadership failed to observe procedures to deal with staff grievances. The staff, who are members of Siptu and the NUJ, referred the matter to the WRC in late 2015, but there has been no engagement by the leadership.

The embarrassing internal row comes on top on the union's lengthy disputes over the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) on pay and productivity, and junior cycle reform.

The ASTI is the only union not to have accepted the LRA, which has caused considerable disruption to life in up to 500 schools in the past year, and is also refusing to co-operate with junior cycle changes.

Arising from its refusal to accept the LRA, ASTI members are not benefiting from the pay restoration measures associated with it, and newly qualified ASTI members also have to wait longer for a permanent contract.

The junior cycle dispute will leave more than 30,000 junior cert students with assessment gaps on their certificates next autumn.

A grassroots petition has forced the ASTI leadership to call a special convention on June 10, to discuss a motion calling for a suspension of all industrial action pending the outcome of proposed negotiations on a new public service pay deal.

Irish Independent

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