Strikes on cards as ASTI rejects pay deal
on 21/09/2013 00:00:00
The results of both votes were announced yesterday with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) rejecting the deal.
Meanwhile, the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), with 15,000 members, decided to support it by a margin of 54% to 46%.
The ASTI had balloted its 17,000 members on acceptance or rejection of the Haddington agreement on public service cutbacks.
The ASTI, the TUI, and the Irish Federation of University Teachers had been the only public service unions which had not accepted the terms of the agreement.
Yesterday, ASTI confirmed its members had voted by 63% to 37% to reject the deal, with the effect that they will now be subject to the full rigours of the Government's financial emergency measures in the public interest legislation.
That legislation was drawn up to secure savings from public servants not signed up to the Haddington Road Agreement.
In tandem with the vote on the public service deal, the ASTI members had been balloted on whether to take industrial action up to strike in the event that the agreement was rejected.
That ballot returned a result of 65% in favour of taking action.
Following the result, ASTI general secretary Pat King said: "Teachers' message today is that they have given enough. All second- level teachers are delivering more with far less resources at a time when their pay has been cut significantly and their working conditions have greatly disimproved. The Haddington Road Agreement is a step too far."
The union said the Government had breached the Croke Park Agreement by imposing the "draconian" financial emergency measures in the public interest legislation.
"Teachers are reluctant to take industrial action," said Mr King. "However, the depth of feeling amongst ASTI members is evidenced in the ballot result on industrial action."
His counterpart in the TUI, John MacGabhann, said his members had taken a democratic decision to back the plan but the Government needed to honour its commitments to teachers.
"In [backing the deal] they have, with strong reluctance, taken a pragmatic decision to accept the lesser of two evils in the form of the Haddington Road Agreement, as opposed to the unjust and discriminatory financial emergency measures in the public interest legislation, the removal of which the TUI will continue to demand," he said.
The union said the majority of its members may have supported the agreement but they did not support an austerity agenda.