Unions advise teachers to reject Croke Park pay deal


SECONDARY TEACHERS have been advised by their union to reject the Croke Park deal in order to maintain teacher self-esteem and protect working conditions.

The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) has issued a lengthy bulletin to members outlining the case against the Croke Park deal on public service pay and reform.

The union’s 18,000 members have until May 20th to return their postal ballot. The union has unanimously recommended that members should reject the deal.

The Teachers Union of Ireland is also recommending rejection, but the Irish National Teachers Organisation has advised members to back the deal.

Some ASTI members have complained about the one-sided nature of the bulletin sent to members. Some favoured an information leaflet outlining the case for and the case against the deal.

However the ASTI leaderships said it would have been “illogical” to argue the case for a deal already rejected unanimously by its executive.

In the bulletin, ASTI members are advised to reject the deal in order to protect teachers’ conditions of work. It says a No vote will assist the union in protecting pay and conditions of the teaching profession.

It also warns that the review of teaching conditions could result in a significant worsening of the working conditions of members. Changes could range from issues such as all in-service, parent/teacher meetings and staff meetings outside of school time to co-operating with alternative methods of assessing students for State exams.

The bulletin says that teachers have in the last 18 months endured a pay cut, various levies including the pension levy and income levy and a loss of hard won conditions of work, including early retirement.

Teachers have also endured a ban on promotions, an increased pupil/teacher ratio; less favourable sick leave arrangements, a curtailment of supervision and substitution schemes and reduced funding to schools as a result of education cuts.

ASTI members are also told that Minister for Education Mary Coughlan did not rule out further cuts in education at the INTO conference at Easter.

The ASTI bulletin states: “This agreement is unique in its potential to extract huge productivity and changes in working conditions over a period of four years . . .

“Teachers have already engaged in transformation agenda. This transformation agenda has included: the implementation of the Leaving Cert Applied, Leaving Cert Vocational Programme, Junior Cycle Schools Programme, Transition Year; the integration of international students and new syllabi.”

ASTI says there is no guarantee of partial or full restoration of pay cuts under the Croke Park deal.