Soham Shingapure looks into why the ASTI is threatening further strikes.
The next government can expect to face more industrial unrest in schools across Ireland. The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) said it expects its members to strongly back industrial action in an upcoming ballot.
The union announced that ASTI members are also to ballot for strike action on the same issue with a result due on March 20th.
More than 450 secondary schools as well as centres of further education and institutes of technology were closed on the 4th of February as protest by members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) over two tier pay system for staff recruited since 2011.
The general secretary of TUI John MacGabhann said that while it was not threatening more strike dates, he could not confirm that there would be no further strikes as part of its campaign against a lower pay arrangement in schools.
He stated that over 19,000 members of the TUI had taken strike action “out of exasperation, frustration and a deep sense of manifest injustice being experienced by a significant proportion of teachers”.
“We took the action on Tuesday because for the past year we have been shown from door to door and behind none of them was anything that had been promised.”
Mr MacGabhann said that the issue of pay parity had to be acknowledged and tackled very swiftly. The government “has come after teachers twice”; once in 2011, new teachers like other public servants had experienced a ten per cent salary cut, and again in 2012, the government abolished allowances for new teachers. In total, new entrant teachers were subjected to a total of 27% cut in pay while more experienced teachers continued to enjoy higher pay.
In the upcoming ballot, ASTI has made it clear that it expects the result will be “a resounding yes vote” from the secondary school teachers to strike again unless the situation changes.