Government warns teachers’ pay will be cut if deal is rejected
Ministers ‘confident’ of getting necessary backing for Haddington Road agreement
Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned that those teachers’ unions which had not agreed to the Haddington Road proposals would be subject to the legislation which will go before the Oireachtas next week. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Reuters
The Government has warned teachers’ unions that if they do not accept the new Haddington Road agreement on reducing the State’s pay bill they will have cuts imposed on them under legislation to go through the Oireachtas next week.
Yesterday the executives of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) effectively rejected the new proposalsdrawn up at the Labour Relations Commission earlier this week.
Neither union plans to ballot their members on the Haddington Road proposals as they maintain they do not differ sufficiently from the original Croke Park II document which their members rejected last month.
Teaching unions have warned of industrial action if the Government invoked the new legislation which it published yesterday to reduce unilaterally the pay or worsen the conditions of employment of their members.
This evening another education union, the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) said it would ballot members on the Haddington Road agreement but would first hold a special conference to determine whether to accept, reject or take no position on the proposed deal.
The special consultative conference will take place on June 8th.
In a statement issed after a three-hour meeting of its executive, the union alsosaid that in the meantime IFUT would “be seeking legal opinion on the legal and constitutional validity of the proposed Government legislation aimed at imposing its proposals”.
IFUT is also to seek clarification of points of detail on the revised proposals in advance of the consultative conference from the Government or the Labour Relations Commission.
Separately the trade union representing doctors, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has deferred a decision on the new Haddington Road proposals.
The IMO<EN>council is to consider the proposals again at a special meeting early in June.
The IMO council said that the new proposals represented “progress” in comparision to the original Croke Park II document, which doctors rejected in a ballot last month.
However the IMO expressed concern that there was no provision to restore the original pay rates in time for doctors earning more than ¤100,000 as there was for public service personnel on between ¤65,000 and ¤100,000.
Speaking in Galway today , Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned that those teachers’ unions which had not agreed to the Haddington Road proposals would be subject to the legislation which will go before the Oireachtas next week.
“The Government and the Labour Relations Commission have spent five months now of very extensive, very open, very comprehensive, very thorough discussions, negotiations and analysis on all of these matters.”
“Those unions who have now agreed with the Haddington Road statement will have those agreements honoured, and those unions that do not will be subject to legislation which will go through the Dail and the Seanad next week.”
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said the new legislation would give effect to public service pay cuts for those unions that had not signed up to the Haddington Road proposals.
The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said: “I was talking to Minister (for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan) Howlin last night and he was quietly confident some of the main unions like the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and Siptu endorsed and asked their members to vote for it.”
Meanwhile, the assistant general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) has said said there needs to be a radical re-structuring of the how the trade union movement organises itself.
Speaking at a debate at a divisional conference of the trade union Impact in Wexford today, Sally Anne Kinahan said there were currently 49 trade unions with a collective membership of around 600,000 operating in Ireland.
She in the UK where the workforce was 20 times larger than in Ireland there also were 49 trade unions.
Ms Kinahan said the trade union movement was not going to bring about necessary change with 49 separate unions and a relatively weak central body.
She said the Irish Congress of Trade Unions had only 20 members of staff.
“We are not, with our resources, going to be able to be at the vanguard of bringing about the type of change that needs to happen.”
It is expected that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will bring forward proposals or reforming union structures at its biennial conference to be held in Belfast in July.