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Friday 22 September 2017

Union to ballot members on controversial reform proposals

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A TEACHERS' union whose leaders strongly opposed the Croke Park pay deal is now expected to ballot its members on the reform proposals.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) executive last night decided to recommend that members be given an opportunity to vote on the controversial package.

The executive's ballot recommendation is likely to be endorsed by delegates attending the union's annual conference today.

The TUI executive was the first union leadership to come out strongly against the deal. Hardliners say no ballot is necessary and that the executive rejection should stand, however others say members should be given the opportunity to vote.

But if the ballot goes ahead as expected, a "no" vote will still be urged.

TUI general secretary Peter MacMenamin last night defended the union's decision not to be bound by a majority vote of public service unions on whether to accept pay proposals.

Opposition

The TUI is vehemently opposed to the deal and says it reserves the right to make up its own mind, regardless of how other public service workers vote.

There is growing controversy over whether the majority will rule when all of the unions within the Public Services committee (PSC) of the ICTU take their individual decisions.

Mr MacMenamin said that because the votes are weighted according to numerical strength, it puts major unions like IMPACT and SIPTU, who are backing the deal, in the driving seat.

He said he was not speculating on the outcome of an aggregate vote at the PSC. But while the TUI would take the majority view on board, he insisted it would take its own decision.

"We will make up our mind at the end," said Mr MacMenamin, arguing that the proposals differed from previous pay deals in that they would have a major impact on members' conditions of service.

That was a "step too far" for the union to be bound by a majority decision, Mr MacMenamin said.

Longer working hours are among the demands being made on teachers under the reform proposals.

Irish Independent

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