Asti and TUI ballot on Haddington Road deal
Ballot papers issued to more than 30,000 members of the teachers’ unions
TUI president Gerry Craughwell has urged members to vote yes on industrial action in the event that members reject the Haddington Road agreement. Photograph: Frank Miller
Industrial action in second-level schools could be initiated by the end of the month if teachers vote to reject the Haddington Road agreement next week.
Ballot papers have been issued to more than 30,000 members of the Asti and TUI unions this week. Teachers are being asked to vote on the agreement brokered in May and accepted by the primary teachers’ union INTO and other public sector unions.
Second-level teachers will also be asked to give a mandate for industrial action in the event of a rejection.
If teachers vote to reject the agreement they will continue to be subject to the terms of FEMPI (Financial Emergency in the Public Interest) legislation which includes provisions for a complete freeze on incremental payments, rather than the partial suspensions agreed under the Haddington Road deal.
On August 15th the Asti central executive committee voted to ballot members on the agreement, with a recommendation to reject it. The committee blamed pay cuts and working conditions for newly-qualified teachers for their recommendation.
The executive of the TUI, which represents 14,000 second and third-level teachers, is also balloting its members on the agreement and on a mandate for strike action this week. Union leaders have not issued a recommendation .
However, TUI president Gerry Craughwell has urged members to vote yes on industrial action in the event that members reject the agreement.
Writing in the September edition of the TUI newsletter, Mr Craughwell said if the Haddington Road deal is rejected “industrial action will be necessary to fight the full imposition of FEMPI [which includes] permanent pay cuts, loss of pay restoration to recently-recruited teachers and a three-year freeze on increments”.
In the event of a rejection and a mandate for industrial action, a meeting of the Asti standing committee is planned for September 23rd to decide on the form of industrial action.
An interim agreement between the two unions and the Department of Education signed last month allows for the terms of Haddington Road, which came into effect on July 1st, to be applied retrospectively if members accept the agreement next week.
This would mean that pay cuts to teachers earning over €65,000, enacted as part of the FEMPI Act in July, would be reversed and less severe cuts, agreed under Haddington Road, would apply.
This deal was struck in recognition of the difficulty of balloting teachers during summer.
The closing date for the TUI members to return their ballots in September 20th. Asti members must vote by September 19th.