Tuesday 23 January 2018

Around 200,000 students won’t be able to attend school tomorrow as talks with ASTI collapse

Schools will remain shut
Schools will remain shut
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

ASTI talks with Government ended without resolution tonight, meaning that approximately 200,000 students won’t be able to attend school tomorrow.

The action is going ahead after  talks  between senior Department of Education officials and ASTI leaders ended tonight, with no progress  reported.

Education Minister  Richard Bruton accused  ASTI  of closing  “ hundreds of schools indefinitely, as a result of a dispute , which essentially relates to one hour a week of additional duties.”

Members of the 17,500-strong Association  of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) , are withdrawing from supervision and substitution duties from today, forcing about 400 schools to close on health and safety grounds. 

Parents and students have no idea when they will re-open.

The  confusion will be compounded tomorrow  when  even more  second-level schools    about 500 – will be shut by a separate one-day strike by the ASTI.   Tomorrow’s stoppage  - the second in a series of seven threatened before Christmas – is  linked to a demand for pay equality for new entrant teachers.

The withdrawal from supervision and substitution arises from  the union’s rejection of the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) and its consequent decision to stop working the 33 Croke Park  hours.  Because of this, ASTI members are not receiving the benefits  of the LRA, including €796 a year for supervision and substitution, which triggered the union’s move  to withdraw from these duties from tomorrow.

Speaking this evening following the breakdown in negotiations between the Department of Education and Skills and the ASTI, the General Secretary of the Joint Managerial Body Mr John Curtis said the following:

“We very much regret that talks between the Department of Education and Skills and the ASTI have concluded without agreement and that so many of our schools are not in a position to re-open tomorrow.

Schools cannot open because of the Health and Safety implications of the withdrawal of ASTI members from Supervision and Substitution duties in our schools. This is unfair to thousands of students and their families who will be affected. We urge both sides to continue talking and to come to a resolution for the sake of all involved."

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