Mediator to examine minimum employment standards in English language schools

Collapse of Grafton College has drawn attention to conditions for many working in sector

Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor has appointed a meditor to examine employment conditions in English-language schools. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor has appointed a meditor to examine employment conditions in English-language schools. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

The scope for setting new minimum employment standards for teachers in the English language education sector is to explored by a Government-appointed mediator.

The high profile collapse of the Grafton College English-language school has drawn attention to the pay and conditions for many working in the sector.

In response, Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor has appointed former general secretary of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) Patrick King to work with stakeholders to explore employment issues.

“My key objective is to ensure that Ireland has an English language sector that we can all have confidence in and which provides a quality education to international students coming to Ireland to learn English,” she said.

“Teachers and staff are a central element in ensuring the quality of that educational provision.”

Mr King will meet with employer and employee representative bodies to explore whether there is scope for a set of minimum employment standards that could be agreed for the sector and which could form the basis of a registered employment agreement.

These agreements, common in area such as the construction sector, are collective agreements between trade unions and employers on the pay or conditions of workers.

Once agreed and registered with the Labour Court, they are legally binding and enforceable.

Ms Mitchell O’Connor said interested parties are being encouraged to make a submission with their views to the Department of Education (elemediation@education.gov.ie).

“This is the first time that the department has committed to a mediation process,” she said.

“There is a real opportunity here to inform future developments in the English language education sector that will benefit both employers and employees. I call on both employers and staff representative bodies to actively engage with Mr King to explore the potential to address the employment related issues that have been so damaging to the sector in the recent past.”