Teachers and strike action

 

Sir, – On December 2nd, 2014, and January 22nd, 2015, 27,000 teachers went on strike and lost pay for each of those days, as they knew they would and were prepared to do.

It is regrettable in the extreme that incorrect figures were used in a front-page article which erroneously suggested that the majority of teachers reported for duty on those two days (“Majority of teachers reported for duty on strike days, payroll shows”, April 28th). It is even more regrettable that unfounded and mistaken conclusions were drawn from this flawed information.

Contrary to what the article incorrectly suggests, the actual figures demonstrate consistently overwhelming support from teachers for the position of their unions in respect of Junior Cycle and for the industrial action. It is also most regrettable that the article implied that school management inappropriately closed schools. All schools were required to close on the strike days due to the overwhelming support of second-level teachers for the industrial action.

Second-level teachers remain resolute in their opposition to serious aspects of the proposed Junior Cycle changes, and this has been further evidenced by contributions at recent teachers’ conferences and the refusal by teachers of English to attend continuing professional development sessions for the new Junior Cycle English programme over the last fortnight. ASTI and TUI members will not attend training until there is an agreement.

As part of their ongoing campaign, teachers will again demonstrate their opposition to elements of the proposed reform in a lunchtime protest outside school gates around the country on May 7th. This protest will not impact on regular school business at such a crucial time for students.

Teachers are in favour of positive reform that guarantees and protects standards, equity, quality and fairness in Junior Cycle education. We again urge the Minister for Education and Skills to engage meaningfully with us on these issues. – Yours, etc,

PHILIP IRWIN,

President,

ASTI,

Dublin 8;

GERRY QUINN,

President,

TUI,

Dublin 6.