With the threat of school closures looming, Sinn Féin is calling on the Minister for Education to sit down with ASTI representatives immediately.
The association, which represents secondary school teachers, will ballot for industrial action if pay scales are not equalised by the end of this month.
ASTI members rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement and are refusing to work extra hours under its successor, the Haddington Road agreement.
Both sides are willing to meet but Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Education Clare Nolan has said it needs to happen as soon as possible.
“The reality is that despite not signing up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement the ASTI teachers have been working their extra hours but the Government’s response has been to cut pay for new entrants and to threaten further sanctions,” said Nolan.
“That is not an appropriate approach from Government. The heavy handed approach needs to end.
“Minister for Education Richard Bruton should work closely and respectfully with the ASTI to ensure that there are no school closures in September as a result of this ongoing dispute. The heavy handed approach has not and will not work.”