65,000 teachers, lecturers to take industrial action
65,000 teachers and lecturers working in primary schools, second-level schools, further education colleges and third level institutions will participate in the one-day strike on November 24th called by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
The ASTI, INTO, and TUI announced the results of their ballots on industrial action today (November 13th). All three unions have voted overwhelming in favour of industrial action. IFUT already has a mandate for industrial action.
In a joint statement today, the General Secretaries of the four unions said: “Teachers and lecturers are taking this action because they have never before faced such a serious threat to their pay, pensions and terms and conditions. The four teacher unions believe there is a better, fairer way which does not involve singling out public sector workers or dismantling vital public services. Teachers, lecturers and other public sector workers are being treated as if they are somehow responsible for causing the crisis in the public finances. They are angry at how their sector has already suffered severe cutbacks, both in terms of teacher and lecturer job losses as well as financial support for schools and colleges. These have had a hugely detrimental effect on the most vulnerable students in their communities and on working conditions of teachers. They are also hurt by their vilification as public servants by certain commentators. OECD reports demonstrate that Ireland has a relatively modest public service which is efficient. Public sector workers have already taken a pay cut in the form of the pension levy which was unilaterally imposed on them earlier this year.
“The results of the ballots undertaken by the teacher unions are a signal to the Government that singling out teachers and other public sector workers is unacceptable and that an alternative approach to economic recovery must be adopted which ensures that the burden is shared fairly, the vulnerable are protected and that vital public services are maintained. This must be done by taxation as well as economies and not just through cutting essential public services. The Government has a window of opportunity between now and November 24th to signal its commitment to such an alternative approach.”
Industrial action, including strike action on November 24th, will be coordinated by the four teacher unions.