Teachers suspend industrial action and enter talks

HUNDREDS of second-level schools will be able to restore vital supports for students following the weekend decision of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) to suspend industrial action, managers have claimed.

But teachers represented by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) must wait for the outcome of a meeting of their representatives this month to hear if they too are to end similar measures in place since last year. The TUI meets on September 25 to consider if it will engage with the Department of Education and whether it should lift a range of directives, one of which bans members in middle management positions taking on higher priority duties when colleagues retire.

The central executive council of the ASTI voted on Saturday to enter talks with the department on aspects of the Croke Park agreement, which was rejected by the union in May. Whatever emerges from the negotiations will be put to a further ballot.

“Under-resourced schools are being further undermined by an increase in the pupil-teacher ratio and a moratorium on middle management posts.

“Teachers have taken pay cuts and a worsening of their working conditions, and young teachers have lost jobs or had their hours reduced,” said ASTI general secretary Pat King.

The decision to enter talks and suspend industrial action at almost 400 schools from next Monday was welcomed by Education Minister Mary Coughlan.


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