TUI to ballot members on industrial action next month unless pay deal is improved

All three teachers’ unions set to vote after proposed 5% salary hike over two years rejected as ‘not credible’

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has confirmed it will ballot members next month on industrial action – up to and including strikes – unless there is an improved pay deal.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) both said on Wednesday that they will take similar steps in September.

All three teachers’ unions previously indicated at their annual conferences at Easter they would take joint action with a “co-ordinated public service campaign” if their demands for pay rises were not met.

A combined 5 per cent salary increase over two years was proposed by the Government earlier this year and rejected by unions as “not credible”.


The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has issued invitations to the sides to return to the discussions that stalled in June. Talks are expected to resume in the coming weeks.

The TUI, which represents 20,500 members, urged the Government to return to the WRC with an improved proposal that “appropriately addresses the current cost-of-living crisis that is having such a significant negative effect on the lives of Irish workers and their families”.

TUI president Liz Farrell said: “What has been offered to date by Government is simply inadequate and their failure to further engage has been extremely frustrating. An improved offer is essential to avoid the inevitability of industrial unrest.”

Last month, Minister for Education Norma Foley said younger teachers start out on a salary of about €38,000 and that further measures would be announced in September’s budget to help address the impact of inflation.

However, Ms Farrell said a survey of members earlier this year showed that 65 per cent of teachers appointed after 2011 did not get a contract of full hours upon initial appointment, which means that for several years they only earn a fraction of a full salary.

“Teachers must be provided with secure jobs of full hours and the remaining elements of pay discrimination must be resolved as a matter of urgency,” she said.

On Wednesday, the INTO, which has more than 43,000 members, said its ballot would go ahead “unless the Government’s irresponsible procrastination on public sector pay talks ends quickly with a respectable pay offer put on the table”.

It said the decision was taken “in solidarity” with all workers across the public service who are “battling accelerating inflation and steep increases in the cost of living”.

INTO president John Driscoll called on the Government to “urgently return to negotiations with a respectable pay offer” that unions could put to a ballot of their members.

ASTI president Miriam Duggan also pointed to teachers and other public sector workers attempting to cope with cost-of-living increases. The union is recommending that its members vote for industrial action in the ballot.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent