ASTI threatens series of strikes following ballot

The 17,000 members of the country’s largest second-level teaching union have threatened a campaign of strikes over plans to have members assess their own pupils as part of the new Junior Cycle student award.

An Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland ballot returned a 84% vote in favour of extending ongoing industrial action to include a one-day strike “and further strike action if necessary”.

The ballot result follows an announcement by ASTI that it will attend talks with the minister on the Framework for Junior Cycle later this month.

The Teachers Union of Ireland, already has a strike mandate following a vote by its 10,000 second-level members last spring.

The framework for the Junior Cycle is being implemented in second-level schools on a phased basis starting from this school year. It involves the abolition of the Junior Cert examination and the introduction of a school-awarded certificate based on exams set and marked by students’ own teachers.

“Strike action is always the very last resort for teachers and this result shows the depth of feeling amongst ASTI members that the framework proposals will have a serious negative impact on students’ experience of second-level education,” said ASTI general secretary Pat King.

“We now have a clear message for the minister: Teachers are not prepared to implement proposals which they believe are educationally unsound. It is vital that the minister engages with the teacher unions in a way that ensures teachers’ concerns are heard and addressed.”

ASTI president Philip Irwin said the ballot outcome reflected the deep concern his members have.


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