ASTI appoint Kieran Christie as next general secretary

Long-time activist named to replace Pat King amid debate over recruitment procedure

ASTI general secretary Pat King is to retire at the end of this year.

ASTI general secretary Pat King is to retire at the end of this year.

 

The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) has announced the appointment of Kieran Christie, a long-time union activist from Co Sligo, as its next general secretary.

Mr Christie is a teacher at St Attracta’s Community School, Tubbercurry.

He served as honorary national organiser for five years up to 2015, as well as union representative on the Teaching Council where he earned a reputation for strongly defending ASTI interests against council director Tomás Ó Ruairc.

The ASTI’s 180-strong central executive committee held a special meeting on Saturday to approve Mr Christie’s appointment.

There has been some controversy within the union over its recruitment procedure, with the adoption of a 10-person interview board composed of five internal officers and five teachers elected to the panel.

There was no external panellist, and few of the 10 had any management experience.

Mr Christie is due to take up the role in January 2016, following the retirement of Pat King at the end of this year.

Industrial action

The announcement comes in the wake of the ASTI’s decision to reject the latest junior cycle reforms, triggering further industrial action, including the boycotting of training programmes.

Just 38 per cent of members voted, with 55 per cent against the deal and 45 per cent in favour.

In contrast, members of the Teachers Union of Ireland approved the deal by a 2-1 majority with a 60 per cent turnout.

In a separate ballot, ASTI members this week voted to instruct members to refuse to take up any unpaid work associated with posts of responsibility.

The union said it would shortly issue the directive that all work undertaken must be “pensionably remunerated” as a means of stepping up its campaign against the moratorium on filling middle-management positions.

The union has also begun balloting on the Lansdowne Road pay agreement, having recommended to its members to vote No.

A result is due around October 7th, raising the prospect of another confrontation with the Government.