Friday 18 October 2019

Teacher leaders back new version of Croke Park deal

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) is recommending the alternative Croke Park II to its 32,000 members.

It represents a significant shift in position from the INTO leadership's neutral position on Croke Park II. Primary teachers went on to reject the proposals by 70-30.

Amendments to the earlier deal were enough to swing the executive.

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said it was not an endorsement but an opinion that it was the "better of two alternatives".

Amendments to original proposals include reversal of pay cuts and restoration of €1,300 payments a year for supervision and substitution duties.

Under the new proposals payments will be reinstated in two phases in 2016 and the following year.

Changes to what was initially proposed for the supervision and substitution scheme reduce the occasions on which teachers are expected to provide cover for absent colleagues. Under the new deal, all certified sick leave will be covered as will bereavement leave.

Proposals to cut back on cover was seen as a key issue behind the rejection of the original agreement among teachers. Ms Nunan described the revised proposals as better than what was previously available. She said they offered more protection to teachers and their families than the Government's alternatives for public service pay.

The INTO general secretary said it was a pay proposal unlike any other. "Recommendation of acceptance is not an endorsement but an opinion that it is the better of two alternatives," she said.

The teachers are considering the Croke Park 11 alternative against a backdrop of proposed government legislation on unilateral cuts in the absence of agreement.

As one of the biggest public service unions, and a traditional supporter of national deals, the decision of the INTO is significant in indicating which way the wind is blowing and will be welcomed in government circles.

However, it still remains to be seen how the other education unions react.

The executives of the two second-level unions, the ASTI and TUI, meet separately today to consider their position.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) meets tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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