Doors remain closed at over 500 schools today

Update 10am: Parent's Council president Paul Mooney has warned that students are missing out because of the recent strike action by ASTI teachers.

“What we’re trying to say is that whatever the dispute is about, they can deal with the dispute, but do not involve students, it’s a simple as that,” he said.

“The benefits to ASTI teachers would probably be marginal compared to whatever’s available to the TUI – is that sufficient reason to have 200,000 pupils not at school?”

Earlier:

Hundreds of secondary schools will be shut for a second day in a row as teachers stage the latest in a series of planned strikes over equal pay.

The action by the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) is expected to force the closure of more than 500 secondary schools.

The strike comes just a day after a separate row over substitution and supervision pay forced almost two thirds of secondary schools to close their gates.

That dispute centres on the refusal of ASTI members to cover break times, absent colleagues and free periods amid claims that the Government reneged on a deal to resume paying them for the additional duty.

If not resolved it could force schools to close indefinitely for health and safety reasons if trained and vetted replacement staff cannot be secured.

On the first day of the strike over equal pay for newly qualified staff, in the Thursday before the Halloween mid-term, 507 schools out of 735 closed.

The walkouts are planned to run on five other days this month before culminating in a two-day shutdown of schools on December 6 and 7.

Talks with the Department of Education over the mid-term break failed to identify the prospect resolution.

The union refused to sign up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement public sector pay deal prompting the complicated, protracted and increasingly divisive disputes over pay rates for recent graduates and pay for duties outside normal teaching.

Michael Moriarty, general secretary of Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), urged union and Government officials to engage in talks.

"ETBI is concerned about the effect that an ongoing campaign of industrial action will have on students in particular, but also on parents, teachers and management, not merely in our sector, but across the education sector at post-primary level," he said.

"Continuing dialogue is necessary to seek to facilitate a timely resolution."


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