Quinn opens door to talks with secondary teachers

Minister will discuss education matters but rules out talks on pay and conditions

Ruairi Quinn: willing to talk about education matters, but not pay and conditions

Ruairi Quinn: willing to talk about education matters, but not pay and conditions

Fri, Oct 18, 2013, 13:59

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has said he is willing to talk to the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) about education matters but not about terms and conditions under the Haddington Road agreement.

He said he wanted to explore the grounds for a settlement of the current dispute which has seen some second-level teachers withdraw from meetings, including parent/teacher meetings outside of school hours, as part of a campaign of industrial action.

Members of the ASTI embarked on industrial action several weeks ago after they voted to reject the Haddington Road agreement on public service pay and productivity.

In an interview with RTE Radio the Minister said his officials could engage with the ASTI to determine the kind of things the union wanted to discuss. He suggested any talks could take place after the forthcoming mid-term break in schools at the end of the month.

However Mr Quinn maintained that while he could talk to the ASTI about education matters he could not talk about terms and conditions applying under the Haddington Road agreement.

The general secretary of the ASTI Pat King said he welcomed the Minister’s comments. He said they represented “a window of opportunity” that could be used to find a resolution to the current dispute.

Mr King said: “What we have in mind will not cost anything extra.”

He said the ASTI had never said it wanted to dismantle the Haddington Road agreement. He said the union would like to see talks about issues in the Haddington Road agreement as well as wider matters in the area of education.

The ASTI is the only union in the public service to reject the Haddington Road agreement.