Sunday 19 January 2020

Half country's secondary schools may close for a day - or more - as ASTI backs industrial action

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) has voted overwhelming for industrial action on two fronts.

The move could  result in more than half the country’s second-level schools being forced to close for a day, or more, from next month.

ASTI members have backed strike action by 80pc-20pc  on the issue of restoration of full pay equality for newly-qualified teachers.

And, separately, they have voted 78pc-22pc to withdraw form supervision and substitution work that could mean schools will not open on health and safety grounds.

The union say their  should  no longer have to do this work because they rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) .

The ASTI’s 23-member Standing Committee, it’s governing body,  will discuss the implications of the ballot results tomorrow.

The turnout in the strike ballot was 77pc,. While the turnout in the supervision and subst5aitnmo ballot was 73pc.

ASTI President Ed Byrne said: “Today’s ballot results demonstrate the depth of feeling amongst second-level teachers who have endured years of pay cuts and deteriorating terms and conditions. Teachers do not embark on industrial action lightly and strike action is always a very last resort.”

Members of the other two teachers have accepted  a deal on pay for newly-qualified teachers and also accepted the LRA, as a result of which they are now being paid €796 a year for that work

Mr Byrne said: “It is now the case that members of the ASTI are engaging in supervision and substitution work for no pay while their colleagues who are members of other unions receive payment. Today’s ballot result – in which 78pc of ASTI members voted in favour of withdrawal from supervision and substitution work – is a strong message to the Government that this treatment of teachers is unacceptable.”

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