Students and schools could be facing further disruption next year as leaders of a second-level teachers’ union have recommended the rejection of latest proposals on the Haddington Road Agreement.
The meeting on Saturday of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland central executive council (CEC) discussed issues that arose from talks with the Department of Education.
For the past six weeks, industrial action has seen the union’s 16,000 members force parents to attend day- time meetings with teachers, refuse to take on duties of vacant middle-management posts, and refuse to attend training for changes to junior cycle teaching and assessment.
In a statement after the event in a Dublin hotel, the union said the view was taken that the changes that emerged from the recent talks are not acceptable.
“Members of the CEC expressed the view that second-level teachers all over the country are exasperated by the ongoing damage to second-level education and the teaching profession due to budget cuts and austerity measures,” it said.
ASTI general secretary Pat King said there is concern that the Government could seek to impose supervision and substitution & work on teachers not previously signed up to do it, or seek to further cut teachers’ pay.
“If they do that, we as a trade union will have to respond,” said Mr King. “I don’t know how serious that could become but it could be serious.”
The proposals followed weeks of informal talks with the department, with the details that emerged last Tuesday now to be balloted on over the next few weeks. They include:
* A review of how 33 extra hours of work each year are to be used;
* The option for the minority of teachers not previously signed-up for paid supervision and substitution to opt out of the work, which became compulsory and unpaid under Haddington Road, in return for an equivalent pay cut;
* A working group to be set up immediately to consider ASTI concerns over junior cycle reform.
In addition, Government commitments contained in the agreement have been firmed up, around improving work prospects for non-permanent teachers and allowing more middle-management posts be filled in schools worst-affected by a promotions ban.
As a result of rejecting the agreement, ASTI members were left without this year’s salary increments — which have been paid to all other public servants — and those who joined the profession since 2011 did not move to slightly-improved salary scales now being paid to members of other unions.
Unlike those whose unions signed up to the deal, they were also left with the prospect of non-return of lost supervision and substitution pay.
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