Last minute talks to avoid secondary schools closing taking place today

Last minute talks to avoid secondary schools closing taking place today

Representatives from the Association of Secondary School Teachers will meet with officials at the Department of Education this afternoon in a final effort to resolve a long-running pay dispute.

The pressure is on both sides to reach agreement ahead of planned industrial action on Monday, which will see 400 schools closed around the country.

Some 200,000 secondary school pupils won't be returning to school after the mid-term break, unless the ASTI and the government manage to find common ground on a proposed pay deal.

ASTI members will withdraw supervision and substitution duties from Monday, resulting in widespread school closures on health and safety grounds.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told teachers it was not too late to call off the action, while the Department appelaed to the union engage in 'meaningful talks'.

The Department pointed out that the proposed pay deal, which includes a 15% pay rise for new teachers, is already being implemented by two other teaching unions - the INTO and the TUI.

In response, the ASTI said that expecting its members to carry out substitution and supervision work for no pay while colleagues in other unions were being paid was unacceptable.

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