Teachers refuse to end industrial action
The Government suffered a serious setback yesterday when the Teachers' Union of Ireland refused to end its current limited industrial action.
A special delegate congress decided to keep directives in place banning parent-teacher and staff meetings outside school hours. The directives also prohibit the re-shuffling of middle management duties.
The Government had said that lifting the action was necessary before the union could enter talks on the Croke Park agreement. Both the INTO and ASTI have already agreed to go into the talks.
The refusal to lift the directives will alarm managers of vocational schools, community colleges and community schools. They had hoped that the action would be halted immediately.
Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputies said the outcome of yesterday's congress would cause serious problems, especially in schools represented by dual trade union membership.
"The ASTI says parent teacher meetings can he held part in and part out of school hours but the TUI says no -- this will put principals in a difficult situation."
The ban on allowing schools to renegotiate the duties attached to vice principal posts will also cause serious problems.
It is understood that there was a substantial majority in favour of retaining the directives but the delegates also indicated their willingness to enter talks under the normal conciliation machinery.
However, government sources said this was not a runner in the absence of lifting the directives.
TUI general secretary Peter MacMenamin said his union was prepared to enter talks on meaningful change.
The congress's executive was directed to draw up a contingency plan to deal with any attempt by the Government to impose the Croke Park deal's changes by circular letter.