Secondary teachers ramp up campaign for return of money lost during junior cycle dispute
Secondary teachers are ramping up their campaign for a return of money lost during their dispute over junior cycle reform.
Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) is furious that its members are being treated differently than nurses, who were not penalised in the same way when they took industrial action earlier this year.
ASTI members were subjected to a pay freeze in 2016-17 because of ongoing industrial action over the curricular changes .
ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie said they would be making “a substantial announcement” on the matter at the union’s annual convention next Wednesday.
The union has sought legal advice on the matter.
Mr Christie said it seemed that nurses escaped the same type of pay penalties imposed on his members in 2016-17, because nurses are “more popular than teachers”.
He referred directly to comments made by Taoiseach Leo Vardakar in this regard during the nurses’ dispute.
He said the outcome of the nurses’ dispute was a “game changer” for the ASTI in relation to seeking retrospection for losses suffered by his members .
The Government used emergency legislation, known as FEMPI, to impose a pay freeze on ASTI members in 2016-17, on the basis that their industrial action was a repudiation of the public service pay agreement.
One of the sanctions was a freeze on increments.
When the dispute ended on June 10 2017, the increments restarted, with immediate effect, and became the standard date for increments to apply.
However, for teachers whose increment was originally due at a different time of the year, perhaps September, it can mean a considerable time lag and the loss of the money for that period.
Mr Christie said the Increments issue the “stone in the shoe” of the ASTI.
Depending on the point a teacher is at in the scale, increments are worth a minimum of about €1,200
Since the dispute ended the ASTI had been seeking the restoration of the original increment dates for members, and now, as a result of the nurses dispute, it is also demanding retrospection.
Mr Christie said while they believed FEMPI should never have been enacted, but “we take the view that the law of the land is the law of the land and we don’t think it is open to Government to apply the law to one section of the community and not to another”.