TUI says teachers may withdraw ’goodwill’activities

Union says Department of Public Expenditure given excessive powers

TUI general secretary John MacGabhann speaking at the TUI Annual Congress in Galway today. Photograph: Aengus McMahon

TUI general secretary John MacGabhann speaking at the TUI Annual Congress in Galway today. Photograph: Aengus McMahon

Tue, Apr 2, 2013, 15:07

Teachers may withdraw from activities previously carried out on a goodwill basis because of demands being made of them by the Government under the new Croke Park agreement, the general secretary of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned.

Addressing the union’s annual conference in Galway, John MacGabhann also said the TUI would vote against the new Croke Park deal proposals when the public service committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions meets to consider ratification of the accord on April 17th.

He said the union “would continue to oppose imposition of the (Croke Park) proposals following that date.”

Mr MacGabhan also criticised the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform which, he said, treated public servants “as if they were the enemy rather than the bulwark” of the State. “This is perverse”, he said.

He said following the establishment of the current Government, there had been “a type of administrative coup d’etat” in which the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform had been given extravagant and excessive powers to regulate public services, including public education services.

Mr MacGabhann said in the recent Croke Park agreement talks on the education sector, the Government side had made “oppressive and unnecessary further productivity” of teachers and lecturers.

He said the reckless and arbitrary nature of these demands owed nothing to the real requirements of the public education system but were exclusively about “cutbacks, savings and curtailments”.

Mr MacGabhann said when addressing the conference last year he had warned the management side not to make imprudent demands for bogus productivity.

“The Department of Education and Skills knows full well that teachers and lecturers hugely supplement the resources of the State in the public education system. They provide freely and generously of their time and in an effort to ensure that their students, from whatever background, enjoy the best possible educational experience,” he said. “The department is now, very foolishly, pushing those same teachers and lecturers to an extent that will cause many to choose , with reluctance, to withdraw from what they have done on a goodwill basis.”

He said attempts to coerce and codify that which was immeasurable, but nonetheless invaluable would be wholly counter-productive.

Mr MacGabhann called on the Government to use the taxation system to ensure “a just and balanced approach ” to the current economic crisis.

“Those who earn most, should pay most. It is as simple as that,” he said.

He also strongly criticised the “crisis of casualisation” in the education sector. He said around 30 per cent of TUI members were in part-time employment. “Theirs is a form of indentured labour,” he said.

Mr MacGabhann also said there was considerable disquiet among TUI members regarding the extensive nature and relatively rapid pace of change being suggested for the junior cycle in education.

He also said an intolerable adminstrative burden was being placed on schools and institutes and that teachers and lecturers were increasingly being deflected from teaching.