Uncertainty still surrounds Croke Park deal as teachers’ vote is split

THE ratification of the Croke Park public service pay and reform deal still looks uncertain after more than 51,000 teachers were split in their vote on support for the agreement reached in April.

As expected, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) rejected the deal but the larger Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has backed it. All three outcomes were in accordance with recommendations from the respective unions’ executives and their delegates at next month’s conference of Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) public services committee will vote accordingly.

The collective position of public service unions toward the agreement depends on the outcome of ballots of all 19 committee affiliates, with each member union given a number of votes determined by their membership.

After yesterday’s results, just over one-third of all 2,885 votes to be cast on June 15 are accounted for, with INTO’s 314 votes in favour to be slightly superseded by the 341 votes of ASTI and TUI combined. This brings the total votes to date in favour of the deal to 527 and those against to 469, following recent ballot results from four other unions.

The country’s two largest public service unions, SIPTU and IMPACT, will announce results of their ballots on June 11, with both their executives recommending acceptance. The IMPACT leadership’s position was strengthened when the recommendation was backed by the union’s biennial conference on Thursday. Between them, IMPACT (606) and SIPTU (719) account for almost half of the public services committee votes and results in favour from both, combined with those unions which have already backed the Croke Park deal, would be enough to get it across the line.

But a number of unions have already said they will not be bound by the overall ICTU decision, including the TUI whose 10,222 voting members rejected the deal by a three-to-one majority.

“The principal reason for the rejection is the open-ended demand for renegotiation of contracts of both second level teachers and third level lecturers together with the demand for an additional hour in both cases,” said TUI general secretary Peter MacMenamin.

ASTI general secretary John White hinted at a similar stance, saying that a one-size-fits-all agreement is not appropriate for second level.


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