Teacher unions urge no to Croke Park deal

Two of the country’s teacher bodies became the latest unions to advise members to ballot against accepting the terms of the Croke Park II.

The executive of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland, which represents second and third-level teachers, met yesterday to discuss how the €1bn in savings being sought by the Government would impact upon its 15,500 members.

Afterwards general secretary John MacGabhann said his executive believed the suite of measures proposed were “excessively draconian” and that the best way to address the financial situation was through taxation.

He also said there was a deep mistrust of the Government as people had signed up to the first Croke Park deal on the basis that it would not be revisited.

Earlier, following a meeting of its executive, the Irish Federation of University Teachers made the same recommendation as TUI to its 2,000 members.

The standing committee of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland met yesterday. Afterwards it said there was “deep anger” at plans to worsen pay and conditions as all second-level teachers had already taken a pay cut of 14%.

The union leadership of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation deferred on whether or not to recommend the proposals to its 32,000 members. A spokesman said there was significant anger at the Government for breaching the terms of the existing agreement and conducting negotiations against the threat of imposed pay cuts. Both the ASTI and INTO are seeking clarifications from the Government before deciding on their recommendations to members ahead of ballots.

Meanwhile, a union representing low-paid workers in the civil service has claimed its members’ wages have been cut so much over the last four years that many are now dependent on social welfare benefits to survive.

Civil Public and Services Union general secretary Eoin Ronayne said the vast majority of his members started work on €23,000 per year and only reached the top of their income scale of €38,000 after 18 years.

He said they had endured cuts of an average of €100 per week in their take-home pay since 2009 and many were now dependent on medical cards, family income supplements, and welfare benefits to survive.

“It’s a crazy situation that you have some employees of the State dependent on benefit payments through the welfare service of the same State to survive,” he said.

“Many members now have to take on second casual-type jobs just to make ends meet.”

The executives of the unions representing 70,000 nurses, gardaí and prison officers will meet in Croke Park this afternoon under the banner of the 24/7 Frontline Alliance to discuss how they will campaign against the deal. They are angry at cuts to premium payments which, they say, will result in significant reductions in take-home pay for their members.


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