THE Government will face immediate legal action if it attempts to replace teachers who currently hold long-time contracts, but who have not secured permanent status, writes Ralph Riegel.
The warning came as the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) also hit out at the practice of school principals using retired teachers for substitute duties. ASTI industrial relations officer, Bernard Moynihan, said it is estimated that almost 1,000 retired teachers were hired by school principals in 2010/2011.
In each case, the school involved has to pay teachers, who have retired, at the highest end of the pay-scale -- in contrast to younger teachers who are usually at the lowest end of the pay-scale. Mr Moynihan also warned that the ASTI will take legal steps if any action is taken to replace teachers who are on their second, third or fourth non-permanent contracts.
Teachers on their first set-term employment contract are not covered by the Unfair Dismissals Act. Teachers on their second, third and fourth set-term contract are usually awaiting the securing of permanent status at the school involved.
"The feeling they (teachers) are getting is that they may now be in a position where the Department may try to dislodge those people," he said.
"I have news for them -- you cannot override the law of the land. Our view is that those people are protected by the Unfair Dismissals Act."