Sunday 25 February 2018

Teachers still to give verdict on year-old Croke Park deal

Katherine Donnelly

THE Croke Park deal on pay and reform in the public service is still awaiting a final decision from third-level lecturers and some post-primary teachers --a full year after it was brokered.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association and the army union, PDFORRA, both confirmed yesterday that their members had accepted the agreement by a ratio of around six to one.

But the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) have yet to give a verdict on the agreement negotiated last March. The deal guarantees no pay cuts and no compulsory redundancies for public service workers before 2014, in return for extra productivity and flexibility.

However, there is fierce resistance among lecturers, in both the universities and the institutes of technology, to the scale of changes in working conditions envisaged.

The TUI, which represents teachers in vocational, community and comprehensive schools and institute of technology lecturers, may give the go ahead to a new ballot when its executive meets tomorrow.

After rejecting the agreement last year, the TUI sought certain clarifications before holding a second ballot, which it then delayed until after the election.

IFUT, which represents academics in the seven universities, also rejected the deal last year, and has no immediate plans for a new ballot.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education has not awaited the TUI decision to start laying plans to implement a key element of the deal -- the redeployment of surplus second-level teachers. The department has told schools that it wants the details of the 170 surplus teachers by tomorrow.

For the first time ever, all post-primary teachers are liable to transfer if their position no longer exists in their existing school.

The other second-level union, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, recently voted in favour of the Croke Park agreement.

Up to now, most second-level teachers could stay in the school even if their job disappeared, in situations, for instance, where a subject was dropped.

Exceptions to the rule were teachers in the Vocational Education Committee (VEC) sector, who could be transferred within the same VEC area.

The new deal provides for second-level teachers to move up to 50km, and not only within their own sector.

Irish Independent

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