Tuesday 21 February 2017

Pay for gardaí, no cash for teachers as schools close

Katherine Donnelly and Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 27/10/2016 | 02:30

Building trust may well be the key that unlocks a deal. The reality is that gardaí are angry. They are angrier than the average teacher (Stock picture)
Building trust may well be the key that unlocks a deal. The reality is that gardaí are angry. They are angrier than the average teacher (Stock picture)

The Government has upped the ante in the row with secondary teachers as 507 schools are shut by strike action today - forcing about 250,000 students to stay at home.

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The Department of Education has confirmed that teachers will not be paid at all if their schools shut because they withdraw from supervision and substitution work after the mid-term break.

In contrast, gardaí are set to receive a cash boost for taking on extra work under proposals tabled at talks to prevent the force going on strike next week.

The hardline approach to teachers is evident in formal Department of Education advice to schools about payroll arrangements from November 7.

The Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) described it as a "provocative act" and is taking legal advice.

Members of the ASTI will lose a day's salary today as a result of the one-day strike over pay that is closing 507 of the country's 735 second-level schools. Some 228 schools will remain open.

However, there are even bigger worries about whether most schools will remain closed indefinitely after the Halloween break as ASTI members threaten to withdraw from supervision and substitution duties.

The department takes the view that supervision and substitution is part of teachers' contracts and so pay will be stopped indefinitely unless they comply.

The stance contrasts with talks between the Garda Representative Association and the Department of Justice at a secret location yesterday.

These talks could provide a route to a deal that would give more pay but would not be seen as breaching the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

A source said some form of compensation may be offered for changes accepted by gardaí that are already in train or planned. They include altered rosters and the introduction of an updated version of the Pulse computer system.

They also include productivity in relation to aspects of the Garda Commissioner's modernisation and renewal programme.

Irish Independent

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