Monday 21 August 2017

ASTI calls off ballot after Department confirms 'no threat of redundancy to secondary teachers this summer'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

THE ASTI has called off a ballot planned for next week after the Department of Education confirmed that no teacher was facing redundancy this year.

The ASTI’s governing body, its 23-member Standing Committee, which is meeting today, pulled the ballot shortly after the Department’s announcement.

The plan to ballot for industrial action was directly linked to the possibility that a member, or members of the ASTI could face redundancy if they were deemed surplus to requirements in their school at the end of the current year.

Teachers generally are protected against forced redundancy through a redeployment scheme, but ASTI members have no access to that because of their rejection of the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA).

Earlier this year, about 60 secondary schools - where there the ASTI represents teachers - advised the Department of Education that they were facing a potential surplus in September.

This raised concerns within the ASTI , which prompted the decision to conduct a ballot on industrial action, up to and including strike, in the event of a teacherbeing told they were losing their job.

However, rising pupil enrolments and the addition of several hundred posts in schools in September have clearly absorbed any potential surplus.

A department spokesperson said that, based on information regarding staff changes for 2017/18, “no school will have teachers in excess of its approved allocation”.

The removal of the redundancy threat will bring relief to ASTI members, and comes as the union leadership meets at a critical point in its long-running disputes over pay and junior cycle reform.

The leadership is being forced to call a special convention, within weeks, after more than 1,300 members signed a petition seeking a debate on suspension of industrial action.

The convention is likely to be a key talking point at today’s meeting of the Standing Committee, and of its 180-member central executive committee tomorrow.

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