Teachers to withdraw from meeting parents outside school hours

ASTI industrial action to start on October 2nd

Secondary school teachers are to refuse to hold parent/teacher meetings outside of school hours from early next month in protest at cuts in pay and conditions.

Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) are also to pull out of taking part in after-school planning, policy and development meetings and in-service training.

The union is also to withdraw co-operation with in-service planning for the introduction of reforms to the Junior Cert which the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn is seeking to put in place.

It has also urged members not to undertake any duties arising from vacated middle management posts “unless they are pensionably remunerated for this”.


The industrial action will commence from Wednesday October 2nd.

The move follows the decision by members of the ASTI to reject the Haddington Road agreement on public service pay and pensions and to vote in favour of industrial action.

On foot of their rejection of the deal the Government will impose cuts on members of the union under financial emergency measures passed by the Oireachtas in the summer.

In many ways the measures allowed under this legislation are even more draconian than those set out in the Haddington road deal.

Pay cuts introduced for those earning over €65,000 will now be permanent and increments will be frozen for three years.

The legislation also allows the Minister to introduce unilateral changes to conditions of employment of groups that do no sign up to the Haddington road deal.

In essence standing committee of the ASTI decided on Monday to withdraw from commitments agreed under the original Croke Park agreement. This involved teachers working an additional 33 hours per year, which were used mainly to hold parent/teacher and internal planning meetings outside of normal school hours.

The union argues the Government breached the original Croke Park deal by introducing further cuts in pay under Haddington Road.

A spokeswoman for Mr Quinn said he would consider the decisions of the ASTI in consultation with other members of the Cabinet.

The ASTI is isolated in its opposition to the Haddington Road deal as every other public service union has now accepted the agreement.

Today the union representing university lecturers became the last one to vote in favour of the deal.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) said that its members had accepted the Haddington Road agreement by a margin of 62 per cent to 38 per cent.

A key issue for the Government will be how to distinguish between members of the ASTI, members of another teaching union, the TUI, which has accepted Haddington Road and non-union members working in the same school.

TUI members will be entitled to receive their next increment on foot of voting infavour of the agreement last Friday.

Some sources have suggested that school authorities may have to ask non-union members to indicate whether they would be willing to accept Haddington Road.

Speaking after the meeting of its standing committee ASTI general secretary Pat King said while teachers were anxious not to disrupt their students' education, ASTI members had voted by a two to one majority in favour of industrial action.

“The loss of classroom teachers from schools , the withdrawal of guidance services, the axing of middle management posts, the tying up of teachers’ time and energy with extra administrative work - these are the actions that have disrupted and damaged the education of our young people in recent years.”

“Despite the fact that vital resources have been stripped from schools, ASTI members signed up to and delivered more for less under the Croke Park Agreement only to find the Government reneging on its promises under the same Agreement.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent