Impact calls on staff in education sector to accept Croke Park

Chairperson says valuable protections for the most vulnerable will be lost if deal rejected

 Minister for Education Ruairí QuinPhotograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times

Minister for Education Ruairí QuinPhotograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times

Wed, Apr 3, 2013, 21:05

The chairperson of the 10,000-strong education division of the trade union Impact has called on staff in the education sector to accept the proposed new Croke Park agreement.

Speaking at the inaugural conference of the Impact education division in Kilkenny tonight, Gina O’Brien said valuable protections for the most vulnerable workers would be lost if the deal was rejected.

“It annoys me that some of those opposed to the deal – generally people who are far higher paid and better protected than special needs assistants, school secretaries, and young workers struggling with mortgages and childcare costs – call on our members to vote against the vital protections in this agreement.

“It’s particularly galling when they say there will be pay cuts for administrative staff. There will be no cuts to core pay for staff who earn less than € 65,000 a year. It is dishonest and irresponsible to sow fear and confusion among ordinary workers – especially lower-paid staff with big housing and childcare costs, who have no access to overtime or premium payments to make up the difference if the deal is rejected and the Government imposes another pay cut,” she said.

In a separate development, the chairs of four Impact branches that collectively represent over 6,000 special needs assistants have also called for a ‘Yes’ vote in the union’s ballot on the new Croke Park proposals.

Impact’s education division represents special needs assistants, school secretaries, clerical and administrative staff in VECs and institutes of technology, and staff of the National Education Welfare Board and school completion programmes.