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School principals and deputies deserve alternative trade union

I refer to Stephen Rogers’ article on school principals seeking alternative trade union representation and an assertion therein by the TUI that it represents school principals and deputy principals through its structures.

As a school principal and a member of the TUI, I have a difficulty with this statement as I am sure would many of my fellow principals and deputy principals.

The TUI purports to have an organisation representing principals and deputy principals, the PDA, yet this organisation has no voice on the TUI executive and the PDA was not represented at the recent Croke Park II talks.

The substantial productivity given by principals and deputy principals, as aresult of the loss of middle management structures, legislation and devolving of administrative duties from the DES and SEC, was not raised at these talks.

Despite this considerable productivity, principals and deputy principals will have seen their salaries cut by almost 30% since 2008 as a result of pay cuts, pension levies and Universal Social Charge deductions.

If an industrial relations issue arises in a school, the TUI will represent the teacher, but not the principal who is also a member of the TUI.

It may seem strange that the same trade union seeks to claim to represent both employees and management.

Teacher trade unions in claiming to represent principals and deputy principals have been able to prevent them from forming their own trade union, and can exert some control over school management who in failing to follow union directives can face expulsion and the subsequent loss of trade union protection.

In seeking to provide for the young people in their care, principals and deputy principals should not be placed in such an invidious position.

In the interest of the long-term educational provision in this country principals and deputy principals should be facilitated in having access to alternative trade union representation, other than that of the TUI, ASTI and INTO.

Antoin Breathnach
Cloch na Coillte
Co Chorcaí


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