Tuesday 24 April 2018

Strike threat for half of country's secondary schools this month

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Teachers are threatening to close half the country’s second-level schools for a day before the end of the month.

A one-day stoppage is likely on Tuesday February 23 or Wednesday February 24, just days before the general election.

The threatened strike would affect more than 350 schools, in education and training board (ETB) and community and comprehensive sectors, where the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has members.

The TUI is the sole teachers’ union in the more than 260 ETB schools, while both the TUI and the Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) represent teachers in the 96 community and comprehensive schools.

While the ASTI is not involved in this action, its members may not pass pickets placed by another union, and, in any event, in the absence of TUI members, it would be very difficult for these schools to operate.

TUI general secretary John MacGabhann said today that, while a one-day stoppage in the week of the election was not inevitable, “it is certainly possible”

He said it would depend on whether the Department of Education agreed to meet them for meaningful discussions about concerns of their members at second-level , including the problem of casualisation among newly-qualified teachers.

Mr MacGabhann said education cuts in recent years continued to have a devastating effect on the quality of service to students in terms of larger class sizes, less access to one-to-one attention and less pastoral support..

Today, there were no classes in the country’s 14 institutes of technology because of a one-day strike by 4,000 lecturers, members of the TUI, over the impact on cuts on that sector.

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