Tuesday 18 September 2018

Union vote to reveal split over teachers' pay deal

John Walshe Education Editor

PRIMARY teachers are certain to lift their work-to-rule directives this week, but uncertainty reigns when it comes to second-level unions.

A decision to lift union directives at primary level means that parent-teacher and staff meetings can be held outside school hours again from next September. But it will be some time before the position is known for second-level schools.

The biggest concern among school managers is in the post-primary sector, where unions are not co-operating with the re-shuffling of duties associated with hundreds of vacant middle management posts.

The split in the teacher unions will surface today when the INTO, representing primary teachers, will back the pay agreement at a meeting of the Public Services Committee of the ICTU.

But the other teacher unions -- ASTI and TUI -- will oppose acceptance of the deal.

The leaders of the three unions will meet separately over the next few weeks to discuss the outcome of today's public services committee vote, which is expected to back the pay deal.

The primary teachers' executive meets on Friday when it is expected to lift the directives banning parent-teacher and staff meetings after school.

Then the executive of the TUI will meet on June 24 and the ASTI Standing Committee before the end of the month to decide their attitude.

Education Minister Mary Coughlan has promised some alleviation of the ban on filling the posts. Sources say ASTI and TUI might wait to see what alleviation is made before making a decision.

But the TUI also repeated it would not be bound by an overall agreement of this nature, which contains conditions of service elements for members of the union.

Changes

The deal proposes an extra hour's work per week and contractual changes for teachers.

"It is the TUI view that conditions of service should be voted on exclusively by members of the union concerned in an agreement of this nature," said general secretary Peter MacMenamin.

School managers are also concerned about the delays in making known the details of any alleviation of the hiring ban. They had hoped for news by the end of May and predicted some disruption at the start of the school year, no matter what alleviation is allowed.

Irish Independent

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