Monday 24 June 2019

Primary teachers' union to enter 'constructive dialogue' with Government ahead of ballot over pay

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan. Photo: Frank McGrath
INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan. Photo: Frank McGrath
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) is to enter “constructive dialogue” with Government ahead of triggering a ballot.

The decision was taken by the union’s executive committee today, which agreed to attend a meeting with the oversight body of the Public Service Stability Agreement in the Department of Finance next week.

In the autumn, INTO members rejected, by a margin of 53-47, proposals aimed at ending the long-running row over two-tier pay scales introduced in 2011.

The union had previously bound itself to conduct a ballot on industrial action, in the event of a rejection of the pay proposals, but its initial response was to consult with members around the country.

Then, at its first meeting of 2019, the executive committee agreed to enter talks to “enable a discussion on outstanding pay issues.”

However, the union reaffirmed its commitment to a ballot on industrial action in the event that the “upcoming engagement fails to address outstanding pay equality issues for those who entered the profession from 2011 to 2014.”

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said this cohort continued to carry substantial financial losses under the recent proposals.

She said while the INTO had agreed to attend an oversight meeting with the Department of Finance next week “we will also begin preparations internally to hold a ballot for industrial action should a commitment from Government not be forthcoming.”

Ms Nunan said over the coming weeks INTO will ramp up its member engagement at meetings, preparing for a ballot. The executive committee will meet again on February 7 to assess developments.

Most public service unions have accepted the proposals but another teachers' union, the ASTI, has also rejected it. Its executive is due to meet later this month to consider the situation.

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