'ASTI is fighting for principles, but is being punished' - ASTI President, Ed Byrne
The Association of Secondary Teachers’ lreland (ASTI) is fighting for principles, but was being punished, according to its president Ed Byrne.
He told the union’s annual conference that draconian legislation was being used to try to coerce acceptance of various agreements.
Mr Byrne was referring to FEMPI legislation, introduced at the height of the austerity era and still on the books, which gives the Government arbitrary powers over pay and conditions.
He said it denied the trade union movement, “and the ASTI more than most - the right to normal industrial relations mechanisms.”
Mr Byrne said ASIT members had rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) in a democratic ballot, and found themselves , like “sea stacks dotted along the west coast of Ireland”, standing alone against injustice, inequity and unethical behaviour.
The ASTI president said at the next round of pay talks public service unions must insist on equal pay for equal work, regardless of the outcome of the Public Service Pay Commission.
Mr Byrne also criticised the media for its portrayal of the ASTI, stating that reporting was “uneven” and that “our fifth estate must do better.”
He added: “I prefer when the journalists report the story, not when they take sides, or heaven forbid, make it up”.