Teachers told to stop action or change will be imposed
THE Government has warned the country's 26,000 post-primary teachers that it will impose changes in their contracts and working hours unilaterally unless they suspend their current industrial action and enter talks.
Changes would also be imposed on lecturers in Institutes of Technology amid fears that a longer working week could lead to redundancies.
The Government's tough stand is revealed in its communication to the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), reported in a special edition of the union's newsletter.
The TUI and the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) had voted against the Croke Park pay agreement. Their industrial action bans parent-teacher and planning meetings outside school hours, imposes limits on class size, restricts co-operation with school evaluations and prevents rotation of duties for middle management.
The ASTI central executive meets tomorrow to vote on a motion suspending the action and agreeing to entering talks "without prejudice" to its rejection of the agreement.
The motion says that any outcome that emerges from these discussions will be put to a ballot of ASTI members for acceptance or rejection.
The TUI will hold a special delegate conference on September 25 and a four-page newsletter said there were just two options -- lift the action and go into talks or face the imposition of changes. Imposition in second-level schools, it said, would mean:
- An additional hour "a week at the discretion of management", which would not be a teaching hour.
- A revised contract -- without TUI input.
- A cross-sectoral redeployment scheme -- without TUI agreement.
- Additional periods of availability required under the supervision and substitution scheme.
In the institutes of technology there was no guarantee that the additional hour would not be a teaching hour. It would also mean flexible delivery of new courses specifically targeted at unemployed individuals.
Refusal to comply with the changes would lead to disciplinary action against individual members.
"Inevitably, this would lead to a ballot for escalation of industrial action. There are instances where there could be compulsory redundancies. Members will almost certainly lose jobs," it warned.
In a joint message, TUI president Bernie Judge and general secretary Peter MacMenamin said the executive would be bound by whatever decision was taken at the forthcoming conference.