SECOND-LEVEL principals have called for an immediate resolution of the dispute involving the 17,000 members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI).
The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) warned today of the consequences of the row on students.
“This is not a victimless dispute . The ones who ultimately suffer will be the students” , said NAPD president Kay O’Brien.
“Negotiations will have to begin sooner or later. It will be unforgivable if it is later,” she said.
Ms O’Brien was speaking as the dispute - now in its third week - comes close to having a direct effect on pupils and parents for the first time.
Advice this week to managers of the 380 voluntary secondary schools – those traditionally run by the religious – recommends re-scheduling parent teacher meetings for within the school day.
This will mean schools closing at 1pm with pupils sent home early and parents forced to seek time off work to attend
It was forced into the situation because of a ban on meetings outside school hours by the ASTI as part of industrial action, following its rejection of the Haddington Road pay and productivity deal.
Speaking at the NAPD annual conference, Ms O’Brien said the dispute was causing difficulties for principals.
The problems were most acute in schools were both the ASTI , and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) had members, she said.
This is because the terms and conditions of the ASTI and TUI members are different, as a result of the ASTI rejection of the deal, the only union to do so.
For instance, all TUI members now have to do supervision and substitution duties for nothing, while ASTI members do not.
Meanwhile, TUI members are enjoying certain benefits of the deal, including higher pay for young teachers and payment of increments for those who are due them.