Secondary teachers will vote on industrial disputes later today

A tight result is expected later today in the ballot of secondary teachers over whether to continue or end a number of industrial disputes.

The row between the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and Department of Education forced the closure of more than 400 schools last term.

That followed two separate ballots on separate pay issues, in which around 80% of those who took part voted for industrial action.

But the latest ballot combined those two issues, around equal pay for more recently qualified teachers and the withholding of pay from ASTI members over their refusal to continue working extra hours associated with a former public pay deal.

Over the last two weeks, around 18,000 members voted on whether to accept a provisional agreement reached in conciliation talks during November.

It dealt with those two issues, but also with junior cycle reforms which ASTI opposes and has refused to co-operate with for a number of years.

The ASTI’s 180-member central executive council voted in early December to recommend rejection of the proposed settlement.

The continuation of the dispute could see students whose English teachers are ASTI members unable to do an assessment that will be worth 10% of their Junior Certificate.

However, plans are in place to allow them do the necessary work in March and April, if the deal has been accepted when the results are announced this evening.

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