ASTI second-level teachers reject public service pay deal

Leadership to consider industrial action after members oppose accord by 51.5% to 48.5%

 ASTI delegates at a meeting in June. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

ASTI delegates at a meeting in June. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The leadership of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) is to meet next month to consider whether to reinstate a campaign of industrial action in schools.

The move follows the narrow rejection of the new public service pay agreement by ASTI members in a ballot which was counted on Monday.

The union’s executive decided in June to suspend a campaign of industrial action pending a decision of members on the new pay deal.

The campaign of industrial action saw second-level schools close for a number of days last year.

ASTI president Ger Curtin said the union’s 180-member central executive committee would now review the decision to suspend the campaign of industrial action in the wake of the ballot result.

The meeting of the central executive is likely to take place in early November.

The main issue of concern for the union is the issue of lower pay in place for teachers who were recruited after 2011.

Mr Curtin said recently-recruited teachers were losing out on €5,000-€6,000 per year in pay compared with colleagues appointed prior to 2011. He said cumulatively some teachers were found to have lost out on close to €30,000 in earnings.

Problems

He said the two-tier pay structure was causing “all sorts of problems” in schools. Schools were finding it difficult to recruit staff and some subjects were being left without qualified teachers to teach them.

Members of the ASTI voted in the ballot to reject the new public service pay deal by 51.5 per cent to 48.5 per cent. The turnout was 64 per cent.

Mr Curtin said the ASTI intended to vigorously pursue equal pay for equal work along with its sister unions the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and the Teachers Union of Ireland.

“We will not stop until the discriminatory treatment of post-2010 teachers is put to an end. While some progress has been achieved on the issue, an unacceptable gap remains. Teachers who are five and six years teaching have already lost out significantly in terms of their pay. The effects of this can be seen on teacher recruitment.”

“The discriminatory treatment of post-2010 teachers has serious implications for the future of the teaching profession and the education of children and young people,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, said the Department of Education “noted” the decision by members of the ASTI in the ballot.