Non-union teachers face penalties due to industrial row

Over 1,000 unaffiliated educators to lose pay increments as they work in ASTI schools

ASTI  members outside the Dáil. Over 1,000 teachers who do not belong to a trade union face losing allowances and salary increments  because they work in schools staffed mainly by ASTI members. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

ASTI members outside the Dáil. Over 1,000 teachers who do not belong to a trade union face losing allowances and salary increments because they work in schools staffed mainly by ASTI members. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

More than 1,000 teachers who do not belong to a trade union face losing allowances and salary increments worth thousands of euro because they work in schools staffed mainly by ASTI members, who are in dispute with the Government over pay.

The move has sparked anger among some non-union teachers and principals, who feel they are unfairly caught up in an industrial dispute they do not support.

This summer, the ASTI, the country’s largest second-level teachers’ union, voted to cease working an additional hour a week that had been agreed under a previous pay deal.

The move triggered a series of Government-backed pay freezes and financial penalties for ASTI members, on the basis that the union had “repudiated” the Lansdowne Road pay accord.

The Department of Education has confirmed that teachers who are not union members in voluntary secondary schools – where the ASTI is the representative union – will face the same penalties.

The ASTI represents teachers in about two out of three secondary schools.

It is estimated that up to 10 per cent of teachers in these schools are non-union members.

These teachers cannot join the TUI, another teacher union which has voted to work the additional hours, as agreements between the two second-level unions do not permit recruitment by the TUI in voluntary schools.

Supervision duties

They also stand to lose out on thousands of euro in pay increments due later in the year, along with a €1,800 pay restoration payment for those earning more than €65,000.

In all, officials have warned that teachers who refuse to work additional “Croke Park” hours face losing out on up to €31,000 over a four-year period.

In a statement, the department said it was “normal practice” in the public service that the decision of the trade union recognised as holding representative rights for a particular sector would determine the position for all relevant staff in that sector.

“This context does not allow for acceptance or rejection of collective agreements by staff on an individual basis,” the department said. 

Non-union members in TUI schools – typically those run by Education and Training Boards – stand to gain from pay increments and other benefits.