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TUI chief: Woe betide the Government if it reneges on Haddington promises

John MacGabhainn’s also calling for the TUI and the ASTI to merge, in order to deal in a more unified way with threats and challenges in the sector.

Image: TUI

THE GENERAL SECRETARY of the TUI has said the Government will be unable to regain the trust of the union if it attempts to defer the restoration of payments to teachers.

Speaking to some 400 delegates at the teaching union’s Annual Congress today, John MacGabhainn said members had viewed the industrial relations deal as the “lesser of two evils” and that aspects of it were highly unpalatable.

“With deep misgiving and understandable suspicion, our members decided to trust that [the] government will honour its pledge this time round and will restore the pay cuts according to the schedule set out in the agreement,” MacGabhainn said.

Woe betide government if it again reneges. Trust will then be beyond recall.

He also called for the issue of red tape to be addressed, saying the education system was struggling with increased bureaucratisation.

Cuts

And he said that while Budget 2014 was less severe than those in previous years, it had still been damaging to the sector.

“The provision in Budget 2013 for a cut in the pupil teacher ratio at Further Education/PLC, took effect from September last and has resulted in course curtailment and the loss of hours and jobs by teachers on fixed-term contracts,” MacGabhainn said.

Similarly, the working through of the cut in ex-quota guidance counselling provision is now having a significant negative impact on the capacity of schools to deal, in particular, with critical incidence.

Cuts also create the climate in which the demand for privatisation flourishes and those who impose the cuts know that.

He also pledged that the union would campaign to have pay-scales for new teachers and lecturers restored, whenever it became appropriate to do so.

At an appropriate time and not too far from now, we in TUI and our colleagues in other unions will have to reinstate the practice of making pay claims.

When we do so we must be faithful to our pledge to our new entrants to prioritise the reintegration of the teaching and lecturing scales so that all are on the pre-2011 scale.

Merger

MacGabhainn also argued for the two second levels, the TUI and the ASTI, to form closer ties, and said members would be better served if the two organisations merged.

The TUI chief said it seemed “increasingly illogical, often absurd and certainly wasteful” to have two unions at second level.

At one time a merger of the two would have been impractical and unnecessary.  That time, I believe, is past.

He said members in both organisations faced common challenges and threats in the coming years.

“We will, more effectively, see off those threats, meet those challenges and seize those opportunities if we act as one.”

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