ASTI accepts invitation to attend LRC pay talks

TUI and INTO have already agreed to re-enter negotiations on Croke Park II

ASTI general secretary Pat King:  said teachers have already taken significant pay cuts. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

ASTI general secretary Pat King: said teachers have already taken significant pay cuts. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Mon, May 20, 2013, 10:05

The executive of the ASTI has decided to accept the invitation of the Labour Relations Commission to enter new talks on the Government’s plans to reduce the public service pay and pensions bill.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) and Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) yestderday decided to accept the invitation to the new talks on a successor to the Croke Park deal.

The ASTI is currently balloting its members on industrial action to be taken if the Government cuts the pay or worsens the working conditions of teachers. It said the result of the ballot will be announced on Monday.

The INTO said yesterday its members overwhelmingly backed proposals for industrial action in schools, up to and including strikes, if the Government unilaterally cuts their pay. Some 91 per cent of primary teachers voted in favour of action.

The TUI said its decision to re-enter talks was taken following detailed discussion and careful consideration in order to best represent the interests of members and to negotiate on their behalf. The TUI annual conference in April had passed a motion that it would not go back into talks with the Government.

Some 85 per cent of ASTI members rejected proposed Croke Park II deal in a vote last month.

Speaking today, ASTI general secretary Pat King said teachers have already taken significant pay cuts and have fully complied with the Croke Park agreement, resulting in substantial savings for the Government.

“Teachers have given a clear message. Teachers feel aggrieved that the Government is again demanding that public servants bear the brunt of the fiscal crisis. This is the context in which the ASTI is accepting the LRC’s invitation to education sector talks,” said Mr King.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin is expected to bring a report to Cabinet on Tuesday on the state of play in the talks between the Labour Relations Commission and various trade unions.

The Government is still continuing preparatory work on legislation to secure reductions in the pay bill, including pay cuts, an indefinite freeze on increments and reductions in premium and overtime rates, if there is no agreement with unions.

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