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If Junior Cycle “nonsense” continues, teachers could strike, says union

The results of balloting by two unions will be known on Wednesday.

Image: Ballot via Shutterstock

THE RESULTS OF a ballot of teachers over the new Junior Cycle programme will be known this Wednesday.

Gerard Craughwell, president of the TUI, told TheJournal.ie that he is expecting a “resounding rejection” of the Education Minister Ruairi Quinn’s plan for the Junior Cycle.

“If this nonsense continues then we will have no alternative,” said Craughwell of potential strike action. “I haven’t met a teacher yet who will accept the proposal the minister has on the table.”

The ASTI and TUI are still in the middle of ballotting their members on the new Junior Cycle Student Award.

It is due to be introduced from this September, and negotiations have been underway between teachers’ unions and the Department of Education.

Ballots

A spokesperson from the ASTI told TheJournal.ie that their ballots will close on Tuesday evening and will be counted the next day, Wednesday 26 March. The result is expected that evening.

The results of the TUI ballot are also expected that day.

The unions’ ballot papers differ slightly, with both of them calling for action including withdrawal from cooperation with the new Junior Cycle framework.

That would include non-attendance at training and non-cooperation with assessment of their own pupils.

In addition, the TUI ballot asks members if they would take industrial action up to and including strike action “at an appropriate time”.

Strike action

Teachers recently held lunchtime protests, and Craughwell said that while none are planned right now, they are “highly likely to happen” again.

“Strike action is the most significant tool in our armour,” commented Craughwell.

I can see lots of demonstrations, I can see lots of other action taking place.

He said there has been “no move” in the talks between unions and the Department of Education.

“We meet [the] officials almost once a week, sometimes twice a week. We set out our position at every single meeting. There can be no doubt as to where we stand,” said Craughwell.

Read: “The anger is palpable”: Teachers to hold lunchtime protests over Junior Cycle>

Read:  Teachers to hold “symbolic” lunchtime protests over new Junior Cycle>

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