Tánaiste hopes ASTI members will reconsider 'best deal government can offer'

Update 3.30pm: Frances Fitzgerald has echoed Education Minister Richard Bruton's disappointment at the rejection of a pay deal offered to the ASTI.

The Tánaiste says she hopes teachers who are members of the ASTI union will re-consider their rejection of a pay offer, as the government has nothing more to offer teachers.

"The deal is what's on the table," Frances Fitzgerald said. "It's a very good deal, it's the best that the government can offer. So I hope people will reconsider."

Members yesterday voted by 52.5% to 47.5% to reject the offer aimed at settling their non-co-operation on a range of duties.

However, along with losing the offer, the teachers will also lose out on an early pay rise from April as they remain outside the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Earlier: The Education Minister says a pay deal offered to the ASTI is at the limit of what can be afforded.

Richard Bruton (pictured) says young teachers in the union will suffer a permanent financial loss after the union rejected the deal yesterday.

He says it would have brought new teacher's starting salaries to 35,000 euro from 2018 - and members of the ASTI will now not receive the benefits that INTO and TUI teachers have signed up to.

Minister Bruton has been reacting to the union's decision: " Firstly I would say that I am very disappointed at this decision.

"It's coming at a particularly worrying time for students and parents., particularly those preparing for exams.

"The deal on offer, was a final offer, a comprehensive offer that went to the limits of what can be done."

Earlier: Sinn Féin says the Government's aggressive stance towards ASTI is adding to the teachers' crisis.

It wants the Government to agree to the principle of equal work for equal pay and set out a time frame for the return to a single tier pay structure.

ASTI members yesterday rejected proposals from the Department of Education and decided to continue their campaign.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane (pictured) says the Government needs to be reasonable or it risks further public sector strikes: "The Government was asked to at least sign up to the principle of equal pay for equal work,

"We are not saying these issues can be dealt with overnight, but if they agree to the principle and engage constuctively with the trade unions involved and find a resolution to this so this can be done, over a period of time, I believe we can find a resolution.

"So the ball is firmly in the Government's court, they have to deal with this and engage with the trade unions in a constructive manner."

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