EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn has confirmed that secondary school teachers are at risk of compulsory redundancy if they vote against the Haddington Road pay and productivity deal again.
Mr Quinn was commenting on a report in yesterday's Irish Independent that identified 29 schools where almost 48 teachers could lose their jobs next year if the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) rejects the deal this week.
The ASTI is the only public service union not to have accepted the deal.
Members of unions that have signed up to Haddington Road are guaranteed protection against job loss in the event that they become surplus to requirements, such as when pupils numbers in a school fall.
That is the situation facing ASTI members in 29 schools and if the union does not accept the deal, the threat of redundancy will become real.
The ASTI has already rejected the pay and productivity deal twice and Mr Quinn said its members chose to take a decision that put them "at risk".
He said the "very simple" way to avoid redundancy was to vote 'Yes' in the new ballot.
The ASTI said that it would take "strong action if any member is identified for redundancy".
The ballot of the 17,000 members of the union will continue until December 18. The union's executive has recommended a 'No' vote.
He said that he would discontinue paying ASTI members for supervision and substitution work that they have been doing voluntarily since September.
The ASTI has a mandate for full strike action, a weapon it has not used yet, but which it may if the dispute continues.