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Monday 20 November 2017

Teachers' union won't take sides as vote put to members

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

THE Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) will put the Croke Park II deal to its members without a recommendation.

INTO's executive said the outcome was the best available through negotiation, but stayed neutral in relation to the ballot because of the financial impact the proposals would have on some members.

Because of the union's size, the outcome of its ballot will be crucial when all the public service union votes are counted together for the final verdict.

INTO recommended a 'Yes' for the original Croke Park Agreement, resulting in a 2-1 vote in favour and helped swing overall acceptance of that deal.

About a quarter of INTO members are on salaries of €65,000 or more and are facing direct pay cuts of at least 5.5pc on top of other changes such as the loss of the supervision and substitution allowance.

The young age profile of the union's membership means that about 75pc will not suffer direct salary cuts, though they do stand to lose supervision money and a slowdown in increments.

This group will be pivotal in deciding the outcome.

Compensated Among them are the most recently recruited and lowest paid teachers who will be compensated for the loss of supervision money with a move up to a higher point on the pay scale.

The executive welcomed clarification on an extension to August 31, 2014 of the date by which public servants can retire and have pension and their lump sums calculated at the current pay rates.

"In all of the circumstances, the central executive committee has decided to put the LRC proposals to members for decision by ballot without recommendation," the union said.

Information meetings will be held and details of the proposals sent to all members to help them make a decision in a postal ballot.

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), representing second-level teachers and thirdlevel lecturers, and the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) are both recommending a "no" vote.

The Standing Committee of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) will meet again next week to decide its position.

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