TUI to meet to discuss response to planned ASTI strike

TUI adamant members will not carry out any duties usually done by ASTI colleagues

Teachers with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland protest outside Leinster House. The first of the ASTI’s seven one-day strikes in the dispute is due to take place next Thursday, and is set to close up to 525 – or two out of three – secondary schools.   File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Teachers with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland protest outside Leinster House. The first of the ASTI’s seven one-day strikes in the dispute is due to take place next Thursday, and is set to close up to 525 – or two out of three – secondary schools. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

The executive of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) meets today to finalise plans for its members in response to the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) days of action over pay and conditions.

The first of the ASTI’s seven one-day strikes in the dispute is due to take place next Thursday, and is set to close up to 525 – or two out of three – secondary schools.

However, the planned withdrawal of supervision and substitution by ASTI members from Monday, November 7th, has the potential to close these schools indefinitely.

This is because schools would be unable to open on health and safety grounds in the absence of personnel to supervise break-times and fill in for absent teachers.

The management body for the State’s 97 community and comprehensive schools, which met on Thursday, also said many of its schools were set to close.

Most of its schools are staffed by members of both the ASTI and TUI.

The TUI is not in dispute with the Government and it is expected that its executive will advise members that anyone who refuses to cross a picket line is at risking of losing pay and may not be protected under industrial relations legislation.

President of the TUI, Joanne Irwin says that school closures are very likely during ASTI’s industrial action.

She was adamant that members of her union will not carry out any duties such as supervision, usually done by ASTI colleagues.

“I can understand the reluctance of our members to pass the pickets and colleagues. This situation has the potential to lead to difficulties in staff rooms, it is the last thing that employers want,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Ms Irwin said that the TUI executive is very much aware of what happened during a previous teachers’ strike in 2000.

“It is very likely that schools will close. No teacher wants their school to close.

“This is a strategy that the ASTI took. We are still in negotiations with the department (of education) about pay restoration.

“We all want pay restoration to pre-2011 levels, we need a time schedule for when this will happen.”