Wednesday 26 July 2017

Mid-term break provides the space to sort out damaging dispute

Teachers Bernadette Dalton and Niamh McDonnell on strike outside St Caimin’s Community School in Shannon, Co Clare. Photo: Brian Arthur
Teachers Bernadette Dalton and Niamh McDonnell on strike outside St Caimin’s Community School in Shannon, Co Clare. Photo: Brian Arthur
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

As appalling vistas go, the prospect of more than 500 second-level schools remaining closed after the mid-term break is pretty grim.

Some 250,000 students at home, in limbo, among them thousands of anxious exam candidate who feel they need every minute of their teachers' time and all the structure on their learning that they can get. Not to mention the inconvenience for working parents, who will have to think of alternative arrangements for their children.

This dispute has been a long time brewing and, in the world of industrial relations, it is often the case that nothing gets sorted until one, or both sides, feel under pressure. It usually happens after the general public have been discommoded by the loss of a service, or have come within a scary whisker of such disruption. At that point, the parties in dispute feel they have both shown their mettle .

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