Special needs assistants vote for industrial action

Up to 6,000 special needs assistants represented by the Impact trade union have balloted in favour of industrial action up to strike, over what Impact says is a reduction in working hours and fragmentation of SNA posts.

Special needs assistants vote for industrial action

In some cases, individual SNAs have been reduced to as little as 10 hours of work spread over a full working week, the union said.

It said the loss of working hours and income constitute a breach of the Haddington Road agreement. It accused the Department of Education of avoiding discussions by pointing the finger of blame at the National Council for Special Education which oversees the annual allocation of the SNA service.

Impact’s four SNA branch committees are to meet to consider the outcome of the ballot and the type of industrial action to be taken.

Meanwhile, more than 100 teachers were signed up for an online training session in junior cycle English, due to take place last night. Unions have banned members from taking part in the sessions.

The Department of Education’s Junior Cycle for Teachers support service said it had interest from even more teachers but was limiting numbers as the ‘webinar’ was a pilot initiative. It said it had no problem filling the seminar, for which individual teachers needed to pre-register.

Since April last year, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (Asti) and Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) have banned 27,000 members from taking part in activities related to disputed junior cycle reforms.

Asti and TUI told the Irish Examiner the vast majority of members are observing the industrial action directive. They said that 5,000 to 6,000 people teach English in second-level schools, and more than 8,000 are registered with the Teaching Council as qualified to teach English.

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