Tuesday 22 August 2017

Union: 'No' vote on pay deal may lead to more school closures

Ed Byrne, President of ASTI. Photo: Tom Burke
Ed Byrne, President of ASTI. Photo: Tom Burke
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

ASTI leaders are not ruling out further school closures before June.

If members reject the latest proposals on pay and junior cycle reform, industrial action is back on the agenda, according to the president of the secondary teachers' union, Ed Byrne

Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) will ballot this month amid warnings from the Department of Education of painful pay consequences if they vote 'no'.

Mr Byrne confirmed that in the event of a 'no' vote, "there is a possibility of further strike action".

The ASTI may also resume a withdrawal from supervision and substitution duties - but give more notice and co-operation than they did in the autumn, in order to facilitate the recruitment of supervisors.

Mr Byrne said they were cognisant of students, parents and upcoming exams and they would take those into account in deciding on any action.

The ASTI executive committee meets tomorrow to finalise arrangements for the ballot, amid speculation that it might conduct two ballots - one on pay and one on junior cycle.

Read more: ASTI teachers will lose €30,000 if they throw out latest proposals to settle dispute

Mr Byrne accepted that, if that were to happen and members voted 'yes' on one issue and 'no' on the other, the department would treat it as a 'no'.

He accused the department of "coercion" in the use of the emergency FEMPI legislation to attack the pay and conditions of ASTI members because of their rejection of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Mr Byrne said the department was threatening measures over and above what his members were already suffering. Officials recently told ASTI leaders: "If you reject this, we will use unseen and unknown measures against you."

Irish Independent

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