Possibility of school closures grows

The likelihood of schools closing this autumn has increased after the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) announced it is to ballot its members on industrial action. 18,000 teachers – more than half of all second-level teachers in Ireland – are members of the union.

The ASTI’s Central Executive Committee agreed to ballot members on two separate issues: the issue of pay for newly-qualified teachers; and withdrawal from supervision and substitution duties. In both cases, the ASTI is recommending that members vote in favour of industrial action.

ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie said: “New and recently qualified teachers are not only faced with years of casual short-term contracts, but an inferior rate of pay for doing the exact same work as their colleagues. Our goal is simple: we want equal pay for equal work.”

The Haddington Road Agreement – now expired – meant that, for a number of years,  substitution and supervision payments were suspended for all teachers. A restoration of these payments, the ASTI believes, is now due to members of all teachers’ unions.

The results of the ballot will be known on 14th October. The union must give two weeks’ notice before any industrial action takes place.

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