THE Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has taken the controversial decision to wait until after the election to ballot members on proposed work reforms in schools and colleges.
The decision of the union’s executive is likely to fuel further criticism of progress securing public service efficiencies and reforms under the Croke Park deal, which were to be given by unions in return for guarantees of no compulsory redundancies or further pay cuts.
While the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) is already balloting its 18,000 members on proposals for second level, including an extra hour a week for non-teaching duties, TUI leaders had also discussed reforms with the Department of Education about members who lecture at institutes of technology.
Both unions rejected the Croke Park agreement last summer, but entered discussions with the Department of Education in October, saying any proposed changes to terms and conditions that emerged would be put to a vote of their respective members.
At a TUI executive committee meeting on Saturday, it was decided to delay asking the 15,800 members for their views until after the election.
“This will allow the union to elicit views in relation to the [Croke Park] public service agreement from across the political spectrum on the intentions of each of the political parties, particularly those with a likelihood of being involved in the next Government,” said TUI general secretary Peter MacMenamin.
The TUI executive is deeply divided on whether to sign up to the changes, particularly at third level where the Labour Relations Commission had to put forward reform proposals because of strong differences between the union and department officials.
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