Tuesday 25 April 2017

ASTI hardening its position in long-running dispute over pay and junior cycle reform

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan has declared she will reform the Junior Cycle, despite prolonged opposition from the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI).
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan has declared she will reform the Junior Cycle, despite prolonged opposition from the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI).

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

The ASTI is hardening its position in the long-running disputes over pay and junior cycle reform.

Counter moves from middle ground activists were defeated by clear majorities at a meeting of the union’s 180-member central executive today.

The executive voted to conduct an immediate ballot on industrial action in the event that any member faces redundancy in September.

There is no current redundancy threat, but, because the union has not signed the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA), its members have no access to redeployment should they become surplus to requirements in their school for next year.

The ballot will take place in coming weeks and any action that might follow would only be triggered if a redundancy was threatened.

The Department is currently assessing school returns on teacher requirements  for September, and even if surpluses do emerge, it is likely to be very slow to precipitate action.

The executive committee also decided that, in future, it would deal with the issues of pay and junior cycle reform separately.

The union had run separate campaigns on the  issues, but in talks before Christmas, the Department took an “all or nothing approach” and insisted on linking them  in composite proposals on which the ASTI voted in January.

Several motions were debated at the meeting, including one that sought a new ballot in the issue of junior cycle reform, and another that sought a new ballot on the LRA, but both were defeated.

These motions reflected the frustration felt by a growing numbers of ASTI members at the continuation of the disputes and the impact on their pay and conditions.

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