Saturday 27 August 2016

Education sector lost 27,600 days to strikes

Jane O'Faherty

Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30

Disputes by workers in the education sector amounted to 27,600 lost days in 2015, a large portion of the total of 37,760 days lost across all sectors in Ireland.
Disputes by workers in the education sector amounted to 27,600 lost days in 2015, a large portion of the total of 37,760 days lost across all sectors in Ireland.

The education sector accounted for 73pc of all days lost due to industrial action last year, official figures show.

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Disputes by workers in the sector amounted to 27,600 lost days in 2015, a large portion of the total of 37,760 days lost across all sectors in Ireland.

However, figures also show the number of days lost due to work disputes last year was 25pc lower than the same figure for 2014, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) went on strike in January last year over Junior Cert cycle reform.

Separately, lecturers at St Angela's College in Athlone downed tools over concerns related to the proposed incorporation of the college into NUI Galway.

TUI members had considered going on strike on February 24 2016, but abandoned its plans after engagement between the Department of Education and Skills and the union.

Overall, there were nine industrial disputes over the course of 2015, compared to 11 during the previous year.

The nine disputes that occurred in 2015 involved 37,760 workers and nine firms.

Meanwhile, 31,665 workers and 11 firms were involved in industrial disputes in 2014.

In the last quarter of 2015, there were two disputes in progress involving 72 workers and two firms.

The first quarter of 2015 saw the largest number of disputes for the year, with 24,056 days lost and 27,588 workers involved. But industrial action fell off significantly in the second quarter, causing 8,792 days to be lost.

Meanwhile, 6,000 workers from the wholesale and retail trade went on strike last year, with a total of 2,678 days lost.

The transportation and storage sector was also hit by action, with 4,000 workers involved and 5,714 days lost.

Some 14 workers in the construction sector took industrial action in 2015, resulting in 466 lost days.

Industrial disputes involve a stoppage of work lasting at least one day where the total time lost is 10 or more person-days.

Related figures released by the CSO showed a 1.4pc rise in average weekly earnings in the final three months of last year.

Preliminary estimates showed that earnings increased from €702.61 to €712.75 over the course of the year. They had previously fallen to €691.81 in the third quarter.

Irish Independent

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