| 8°C Dublin

Fears election-week strike will close more schools


(stock photo)

(stock photo)

(stock photo)

The threatened election-week teachers' strike may hit a lot more schools than originally feared.

About half of post-primary schools are definitely facing closure on Tuesday, February 4, because of a stoppage by members of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI).

The schools are in the education and training board (ETB) and community and comprehensive sectors where the TUI is the sole or main union representing teachers.

Many of the remaining schools may now also have to close as the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) confirms principals are included in a directive banning members from covering for the strikers.

The ASTI is not taking strike action and is advising members to attend for work as normal, but not to stand in for a striking colleague. Sometimes principals get a derogation from such a union directive, but ASTI advice to members issued yesterday rules this out.

It potentially affects about 350 schools in the voluntary secondary sector - generally those run, or previously run, by religious institutions - where the ASTI is the sole or main union representing teachers.

Even in a voluntary secondary school with only a small number of TUI members, closure could become inevitable on health and safety grounds if a principal cannot step in to cover classes.

The ASTI advice also stipulated members should not work any alternative timetable that may be designed to get around the TUI action

The TUI strike will also hit colleges of further and adult education and institutes of technology, and overall 19,000 members in 1,100 workplaces will stop work.

The TUI is taking action as part of the ongoing campaign by teacher unions to end two-tier pay scales introduced a decade ago as part of austerity-era cuts.

The ASTI and the primary-level Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) are keeping faith with a promise that pay inequality will be dealt with in the next public sector pay agreement, talks on which are due to begin formally before the summer.

Please register or log in with for free access to this article

Already have an account?

Most Watched