The country’s largest teaching union indicated that the “benefits” from this week’s promissory note deal would need to be reflected in a reduction in the demand from the Government for €1bn in savings from public service workers.
Following a meeting of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) executive, its general secretary Sheila Nunan said public services would need to see some benefit from the bank deal hammered out on Thursday.
“This week’s developments must benefit Irish workers and their families and not just banks.”
Ms Nunan also warned that while her union would remain in talks for now, ongoing participation should not be taken for granted. Already Garda unions have withdrawn from discussions and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has threatened to end its participation.
Ms Nunan said the scope of the Government’s agenda was a “major challenge”.
“Any potential agreement has to be one that the INTO can put to its 32,000 members in a ballot,” she said.
“If Government wants a deal, it has to be realistic and recognise that hard-working public servants such as teachers have made a significant contribution to exchequer savings in the form of large pay cuts, increased working hours and more responsibility because of cuts in education funding and resources.
“Primary teachers have delivered on the Croke Park Agreement for the last three years.
“They have worked additional hours, operated effective redeployment and ensured industrial peace.”
Ms Nunan said there needed to be progress on the union side’s agenda to win support among teachers, such as a move to address unequal pay scales.
“The INTO’s policy is to get change on the Government’s decision to cut the pay of newly qualified teachers and introduce a tiered salary structure,” she said.
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