Sunday 11 December 2016

Second-level schools to face shutdown in new teachers dispute

Published 24/10/2015 | 02:30

ASTI General Secretary Pat King.
ASTI General Secretary Pat King.

Second-level schools across the country face strikes over mounting opposition from teachers over new pay levels.

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Some teachers could lose up to €6,700 in lost increments, it has been claimed.

The ASTI has threatened that school closures may go ahead at the start of the next academic year because of an escalating dispute, relating to the new Lansdowne Road pay deal.

Pat King, the general secretary of the ASTI, the country's largest secondary teachers union, said some members could lose up to €6,700 in increments - while others could face redundancy due to the terms of the agreement.

Mr King outlined his strong opposition to the agreement in a confidential document sent to the ASTI executive.

Members voted last week to strongly reject the Lansdowne deal. However, turnout was extremely low at just 31.5pc.

Mr King has suggested if the proposed measures are implemented, it will lead to widespread industrial action. Mr King said there was "logic" to the union's stance to reject the deal.

The union says the proposals do not address key concerns for its members, which include significant pay cuts, and worsening conditions of employment.

These are compounded by the additional demands which have been placed on teachers in the recent years.

It has been claimed ASTI members face the prospect of losing a right to permanency, after two years, under the scheme negotiated within the Haddington Road framework.

A refusal by the Government to take this into account would be viewed by ASTI as draconian and extreme. Again, industrial action would be the only "commensurate response."

However, Mr King conceded teachers might find themselves in an "isolated position" should they implement the strike action option.

"ASTI will be in a totally isolated position, with no support from the rest of the trade union movement, and facing a bitter onslaught from the public and the media. This will greatly strengthen the Government's position."

Irish Independent

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