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Teachers to study whether public sector cuts are legal

LEGAL experts are to examine whether the Government can impose public sector pay cuts without agreement.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) has confirmed they have contracted a barrister to examine the legislation, which proposes pay cuts across public workers.

The IFUT has not yet decided whether to recommend or reject the Haddington Road Agreement – which was struck following lengthy negotiations last week – to its members, who are made up of staff and teachers in third-level institutions.

IFUT General Secretary Mike Jennings said a special consultative conference will take place on June 8.

"We believe there are constitutional implications for the legislation because, to our knowledge, it is the first time that the treatment of employees, including the salary of employees, will be dictated to by their membership or non-membership of a union, rather than the work they do and the grade that they hold," Mr Jennings said.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) are also on a collision course with the Government over the ballot.

The Haddington Road Agreements aims to reduce the public pay bill by €1bn by 2015.