Principals to seek alternative unions

Professional bodies representing principals and deputy principals are to consider alternative representation because they do not believe their trade unions did enough to protect their members’ interests in the Croke Park II discussions.

Both the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) and the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), which represents those at secondary level, have been inundated with calls from members concerned that they were poorly represented in the talks.

The IPPN executive met in Dublin in recent days to discuss the impact the Labour Relations Commission proposals will have on the principals and vice-principals they represent.

Afterwards a circular issued to members said some of the measures would have a profound impact on principals and deputy principals and their leadership roles.

It also said there would be harmful disruption to teaching and learning facing all schools. The IPPN leadership also claimed the proposed withdrawal of qualified substitution for absent teachers on leave would result in many classrooms having in excess of 40 children on a regular basis.

IPPN said it does not have or want a remit for industrial relations matters.

However, the committee said: “The national committee members were unanimous in their belief that their role as school leaders has not been adequately represented by their union as evidenced in the outcomes of the Croke Park negotiations.

“On the instruction of IPPN’s national committee, the executive will explore alternative options for representation in the areas of industrial relations/pay and conditions for school leaders, either within the scope of the INTO or elsewhere.”

The INTO said it represented 32,000 members, including principals and deputy principals, and the issue was not related only to the school leaders but was an issue of higher pay.

“In education, the amount of the cut to higher pay will be offset by taking into account the loss of the supervision allowance.

“In other words, the salary reduction will be the higher amount of the pay cut or the supervision payment but not both. This was secured by the INTO in the talks process.”

A number of principals and assistant principals at secondary level have also made contact with their professional body, NAPD, to say they are not happy with the representation given by the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland and Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and to ask what other options are available to them.

The TUI said the principals it represents attend TUI meetings and represent themselves through its branches and structures, as well as through the Principals and Deputy Principals Association.

“Any concerns that TUI members may have can be raised in and addressed through the TUI structures,” it said.

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