Thursday 26 April 2018

Porridge 'twice a day' in bid to cope with food bills

John Walshe Education Editor

SECOND-level teachers will be urged by their union to reject the controversial public sector pay and reform deal.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) now joins the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) in telling members to throw out the deal.

Primary teacher union INTO will recommend adopting it.

The decision by ASTI delegates to recommend a "no" vote to members will be put to the union's central executive committee tomorrow. It has the power to reject the deal by a two-thirds majority but is likely to put it out to ballot with a recommendation to reject.

The crux will come when votes from the 12 public sector unions are all counted. Even if a majority of unions vote in favour, the teacher unions say they will not necessarily be bound by the decision.

They will then have to decide if they will proceed with industrial action but leaders said this is unlikely before the autumn.

At the ASTI conference yesterday, former president Bernadine O'Sullivan spoke of the effects of salary cuts on public servants, but particularly on newly married teachers who had to take out huge mortgages at the height of the boom.

She knew of one teacher who ate porridge twice a day, not for the good of her health but because of difficulties meeting her food bill.

Another teacher told her she had to wait for her children's allowances to pay her ESB bill.

Ms O'Sullivan said teachers' take-home pay was down 18pc because of levies and pay cuts.

Tipperary executive member Noel Buckley responded to attacks on public servants, saying if those two words were replaced by the word "Travellers" the critics would be considered to be inciting hatred.

Irish Independent

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