Industrial action now inevitable, union warns

Sat, Dec 5, 2009, 00:00

TEACHERS:INDUSTRIAL ACTION appears inevitable after the breakdown of the talks process yesterday, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland warned last night .

TUI general secretary Peter MacMenamin said the talks collapsed after the Government rejected a possible workable situation for all parties.

“An agreement seemed to be in place which would have allowed for considerable savings to the exchequer and reform of the public service while providing a period of agreement in the absence of industrial unrest,” he said.

“However, the Government did not have the moral courage to proceed and social partnership now lies dead on the floor of Government Buildings.

“Any agreement would have been put before members in a ballot.

“Unfortunately, it seems there is now the inevitability of a further pay cut for public servants and subsequent industrial strife.”

The union’s executive committee will meet on Monday to assess the situation, he added.

Mike Jennings, general secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, said the breakdown represented “a failed opportunity to get our economy and society back on track”.

“Government officials and trade union negotiators had been achingly close to reaching an overall agreement which would have brought about a historic transformation of the public sector,” he said.

“The decision by an Taoiseach to reject the proposals will be a major blow to those working to achieve a return to economic growth and preservation of jobs and living standards from 2010 onwards.

“An agreement would have created the basis for radical progress on reform and a new type of partnership arrangement.

“By rejecting the deal, the Cabinet has returned us to the uncertainty and lack of direction that has plagued our economy and jobs market for over a year,” Mr Jennings added.