Up to 19,000 teachers to strike for a day in February

Up to 19,000 teachers to strike for a day in February

Secondary teachers with the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) say they will strike for a day in February.

Members of the union will engage in the action over pay discrimination for younger teachers.

A date for the strike has yet to be determined.

The union said it remains open to meaningful engagement with the Government to resolve the issue.

Its Executive Committee said that efforts to resolve the matter have been frustrated by Government inaction.

The union represents around 19,000 teachers in second level schools, colleges of further and adult education and Institutes of Technology/Technological Universities.

TUI President, Seamus Lahart, said: "At the teacher conferences last April, Minister McHugh indicated clearly that the issue of pay inequality in the education sector would finally be addressed by Government. Several months on, the silence of Government on this unacceptable injustice remains deafening.

"Pay discrimination has severely damaged the profession, ripping the morale of staff to shreds and making teaching less attractive to the best graduates.

"It has also greatly contributed to the deepening crisis of recruitment and retention of teachers in our schools.

A survey of principals carried out by TUI this year found that over the previous six months, 94% of schools experienced teacher recruitment difficulties, 68% of schools advertised positions to which no teacher applied, while 47% of schools had unfilled teaching vacancies.

"It was reported last week that the Department of Education and Skills has evidence that many schools will be forced to reduce access to modern languages due to difficulties recruiting qualified teachers."

He added that recent entrants to the profession "struggle to pay rent and meet other financial commitments".

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