THE four teachers' unions are considering an invitation to meet the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) as efforts continue to find an alternative to the Croke Park II deal
Crucially, the meeting on Monday has been scheduled for the Department of Education, not the offices of the LRC where the deal was negotiated.
This is part of a move to separate these discussions from Croke Park II, which was roundly rejected by teachers and university lecturers.
Attempts to lure the unions back to the table also include presenting the talks as specific to the education sector, compared with the more general nature of the Croke Park II negotiations.
The Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) rejected Croke Park II.
The TUI and IFUT also instructed their leaderships not to get involved in any renegotiation, and now have to decide if they can accept an invitation even to enter talks.
There will be much resistance, particularly within the TUI, to re-entering talks, but sources said they felt the nature of the invitation offered enough scope for unions to return.
The invitation arrived as the INTO, ASTI and TUI ballots on possible industrial action – in the event of any unilateral attempt by Government to impose cuts – draw to a close.