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ASTI boss: Teachers' action is "not about pay"

Pat King has said the planned action will affect students only “marginally”. Teachers will withdraw from out-of-hours duties including parent and staff meetings from tomorrow week.

Pat King of the ASTI
Pat King of the ASTI
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE GENERAL SECRETARY of the ASTI has said the planned industrial action by teachers is “not about money and not about pay”.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Pat King said that the action would only affect students “marginally” and that it was up to the Government to respond now that the union had “set out our stall”.

The ASTI confirmed last night that it will  begin industrial action in secondary schools from tomorrow week, following a meeting of its exectutive members

Members rejected the Haddington Road deal on public sector pay last Friday, and voted for industrial action “up to and including strike action”.

The ‘no’ vote means members will now be subject to emergency financial legislation, which leaves no room for the restoration of pay cuts being brought in for other public sector workers who have signed up to the agreement.

17,000 ASTI members will withdraw from duties outside of normal school hours from 2 October; including school planning and policy meetings, staff and parent teacher meetings, and in-service training for teachers.

Members are also being directed to withdraw their co-operation from work on the new Junior Cycle Framework and not to take on any duties arising from vacated middle-management roles “unless they are pensionably remunerated”.

King said: “The Government now has to respond — we’ve set out our stall and that’s our position”.

“We don’t want to affect students, we are targetting administration work outside of school hours — work that will not target students.”

He said that the priority was not about pay but about the Government imposing a “changing of structures”.

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Asked about the awkward situation members who voted in favour of Haddington Road would find themselves in,  King said “it’s going to get very complicated, but the teachers have voted and I can’t argue with that”.

He reiterated that the union was available for talks at any time, adding: “This will have to be solved and it will be solved – the teachers have said ‘no’ to the Haddington Road Agreement”.

Another second level union, the TUI, last week voted to accept the deal.

Read: ‘It’s not changeable’: Tánaiste and Howlin say no renegotiation of Haddington Road >

Read: TUI votes to accept Haddington Road after ASTI members vote ‘no’ >

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Daragh Brophy

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