THE ASTI dispute has been rumbling along since October 2 without attracting too much attention because it hasn't had any direct impact on students or parents – yet.
Although they voted for industrial action, it is probably fair to say that there is no appetite among ASTI members to disrupt their students' education.
They also know that there is little, if any, public sympathy for their action. Still, they voted for it and have to see it through.
They devised a slow-burning strategy, starting with a ban on meetings outside school hours and non-co-operation with teacher training as an indication of their intent, holding back the "nuclear option" of strike as a last resort. Suddenly, the fuse is burning faster. The new recommendation from the Joint Managers' Body, that meetings with parents of exam students should go ahead within the school day, has the potential to bring this dispute alive.
Already there are reports of tensions in school relations, and now uncertainty and the very real threat of loss of tuition time.
Disputes tend not to get resolved until one or both parties is hurting badly enough, whether because of financial loss or the public wrath, or both.
But in this one, students are shaping up to be the first victims.