Strike action to be debated today at secondary teachers’ conference

ASTI suspended normal business on Wednesday after criticism of its strategy

Delegates pictured at the ASTI conference in Killarney on Tuesday. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Delegates pictured at the ASTI conference in Killarney on Tuesday. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

 

The country’s biggest secondary school union will debate motions today which have the potential to disrupt hundreds of secondary schools from as early as next month.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) suspended its annual conference on Wednesday and met in private for a number of hours following criticism from some members over its industrial relations strategy.

A number of new motions are due to be put to delegates for debate later today, including a call for one-day strikes which could take place in schools as soon as next month.

A second motion will call on members to withdraw from supervision duties in classrooms from September.

Last year, the withdrawal from supervision and substitution duties led to the closure of hundreds of secondary schools.

Unlike other teachers, ASTI members are not paid for supervision duties due to the union’s rejection of the Lansdowne Road pay agreement, which has been a source of rising tension within the union.

The union’s rejection of the pay agreement has also triggered penalties which have resulted in new entrants facing a four-year wait to secure permanent contracts instead of two years. Members are also losing thousands of euro in increments and allowances.

A proposal to suspend the union’s industrial action pending the outcome of national pay talks is understood to have been rejected by the union’s standing committee on Wednesday night.

Members are due to debate the motions when its convention resumes on Thursday.