Thursday 22 February 2018

INTO vote to accept deal in dramatic ballot U-turn

Katherine Donnelly and Luke Byrne

PRIMARY teachers have voted almost two to one in favour of the Haddington Road pay and productivity proposals.

The 63pc support given to the new deal by the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) is a dramatic reversal of their 91pc rejection of the earlier Croke Park II deal.

The INTO vote came on the back of a recommendation from the union leadership that the deal was the least worst option in the face of legislation on unilateral pay cuts.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn welcomed the INTO decision

All eyes now turn to the two second-level teacher unions, the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) whose executives are meeting together on Friday to consider their position.

Both unions previously decided that there was insufficient improvement on the rejected Croke Park II proposals to ballot. They have sought further details and clarification.

After the rejection of the Croke Park II proposals, there were a number of concessions.

Under the Haddington Road proposals, the supervision and substitution allowance will be abolished. But there is a commitment to reinstate most of this payment, worth in the region of €1,800, by incorporating it into salary in two phases, in 2016 and the following year. The proposals contain a similar commitment to restore pay levels to those earning more than €65,000.

The proposals also contain improved scales for newly qualified teachers.

UNPALATABLE

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said acceptance was not an endorsement but a pragmatic choice between two unpalatable options. "Teachers have not so much backed the Haddington Road proposals as rejected the Government's alternative," said Ms Nunan.

Meanwhile, the organisation representing fire and emergency service workers is recommending that its members vote against the revised public sector pay deal.

It followed a meeting of the Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association's (IFESA) national committee last night.

John Kidd, IFESA chairman, said a no vote showed that firefighers had given enough in a series of pay cuts in recent years.

Irish Independent

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