Thursday 14 December 2017

Teachers' strike action could close second-level schools and third-level colleges for a day

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Katherine Donnelly, Education Editor

Strike action by a teachers’ union could close second-level schools and third-level colleges for a day each in coming weeks.

Lecturers in institutes of technology are planning  to  strike on February 3  and now their union colleagues in almost half the  country’s second-level schools, as well as colleges of further education,  are also threatening to stop work for day before the General Election.

The decisions by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) follows separate ballots by their 10,000 members at second -level and 4,000 at third-level.

If the one-day strike at second-level goes ahead, it would close about 350 community colleges and comprehensive and community schools, where the TUI has members.

No date has been set for the stoppage, but the TUI said it would happen before the General Election unless there were meaningful talks on a range of issues, including lower salary scales introduced for new teachers in 2012 and the problem of casualisation in the profession.

TUI president Gerry Quinn said 30pc of second-level teachers were employed on a temporary and/or part-time basis and this proportion grows to 50pc for those under 35.

“As a result of casualisation, students are often taught by a succession of teachers in a given subject area over the course of the Junior or Leaving Certificate cycles. Clearly, this is undesirable,” he said.

He said the continuing ban on filling promotional posts and cuts to guidance had made it increasingly difficult for schools to support students and were having a “devastating effect” on the quality of service.

At third-level, key concerns of TUI members include funding for institutes of technology, a 32pc rise in student numbers over a time of when lecturer numbers have fallen by 10pc and the precarious employment status of many lecturers.

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