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Sunday 21 September 2014

Teaching unions to rejoin pay talks

Published 17/05/2013 | 15:18

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Sheila Nunan of INTO says teachers and other public sector workers are once again being asked to bear an unfair proportion of financial pain

Two teachers' unions have agreed to go back into talks on Croke Park II.

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The Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), which represents 32,000 people, and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) were two of three unions invited back to the negotiating table by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).

The executives of the two unions made the decision at meetings on Friday. The other union, the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI), is considering the invitation.

INTO's general secretary, Sheila Nunan, said: "There was a justified sense of grievance that once again, teachers and other public sector workers were being asked to bear an unfair proportion of the country's financial adjustment."

Ms Nunan said the union would be stressing the impact of cumulative pay cuts and tax increases imposed on teachers and their families, the impact of five years of severe education cuts and the fact that teachers had fully complied with the terms of the Croke Park agreement.

Gerard Craughwell, TUI president, said: "The Croke Park II proposals are dead and gone in the education sector following the massive rejection by all four teacher and lecturer unions. In TUI we rejected the proposals by a margin of 86% to 14%."

TUI said it would focus on restoring the pay scales of newly qualified teachers and lecturers and those earning less than 65,000 euro.

The teachers' organisations are the three last major unions to be asked back for final talks, after the Government warned it is preparing legislation to impose 300 million euro of cuts regardless. All three teachers' unions rejected the original Croke Park II deal, which included plans for straight pay cuts when published by the LRC in February.

Meanwhile, the INTO said it had secured a 90% vote from its members in favour of industrial action, including a strike, if the Government forces unilateral pay talks. Some 91% voted in favour of the threat.

Ms Nunan said: "Teachers are not prepared to make an unfair and disproportionate contribution. Primary teachers have not taken this action lightly. If the Government chooses not to listen to the voices of its workers, then there is no option for primary teachers but strike action."

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