Wednesday 13 December 2017

'There is a possibility of further strike action' - ASTI doesn't rule out further school closures

ASTI president Ed Byrne Photo: Arthur Carron
ASTI president Ed Byrne Photo: Arthur Carron
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

ASTI leaders are not ruling out further school closures in the current school year.

The secondary teachers union says if members reject latest proposals on pay and junior cycle reform, industrial action is back on the cards.

ASTI president Ed Byrne said today: "There is a possibility of further strike action."

The union is also leaving open the possibility of a further withdrawal from supervision and substitution duties "in an orderly fashion."

Mr Byrne said they were cognisant of students and their parents and upcoming exams  and they would take those into account in deciding on any action

ASTI members will ballot later this month amid warnings from the Department  of Education  of painful pay consequences if they don't  accept.

The union's 180-member executive committee will meet in Saturday to finalise arrangements for the ballot.

There is speculation that the union might conduct two ballots - one on pay and a separate one on junior cycle changes.

However, Mr Byrne accepted today that if that were to happen and members voted yes on one issue and no on the other, the Department if Education would treat it as a no.

He accused the department of coercion in the use of the emergency FEMPI legislation to attack the pay and conditions of ASTI members because of their rejection of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Mr Byrne said the department was threatening measures over and above what ASTI members were already suffering.

He said that at a meeting before Christmas department officials said: 'If you reject this we will use unseen and unknown measures against you."

"We listened and said we think it unfair. We are a democratic organisation. We are the  most balloted upon in country and our members don't react well to threats."

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