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Haddington Road deal may not be constitutional, says union

The Irish Federation of University Teachers says it has hired a senior barrister to examine the constitutionality of the proposed deal to see if it can be challenged in the courts.

The SIPTU National Executive Council meeting in Liberty Hall last week on the Haddington Road Deal
The SIPTU National Executive Council meeting in Liberty Hall last week on the Haddington Road Deal
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A UNION REPRESENTING university staff is seeking legal advice over the Haddington Road Agreement, which it says is a ‘rushed job’.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) said the proposed public sector pay deal, which replaces the Croke Park 2 agreement after its rejection by the majority of unions, excludes non-union staff.

The union has hired a senior barrister to examine the constitutionality of the proposed deal to see whether there are grounds for IFUT to challenge it in the courts.

IFUT says the deal automatically freezes increments for staff who have not been a member of a trade union for three years, whether or not they support the deal or not.

The union’s general sectary said people who are not members of a trade union will be automatically treated as if they had voted no.

“It will assume that anybody who is not represented by a trade union will be treated in the same way as if they were represented by a trade union which had voted no,” Mike Jennings told RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland.

Jennings said in a statement the proposed deal may not stand up  to ‘constitutional scrutiny’ and ‘shows the hallmarks of having been a rushed job’.

“It would seem that for members not associated with a representative body, the Minister will be required either to make a special exception in each case, otherwise they will be treated the same as if they had rejected the Agreement,” he said.

IFUT is to decide on whether to recommend its members accept or reject the new deal once it has received legal advice and held a special conference in June.

Two teachers’ unions have already rejected the deal without balloting its members, saying that it is too similar to the Croke Park 2 agreement.

The government is still targeting savings of €300 million for this year in the public sector pay bill, and aims to save €1 billion over the next three years.

Read: Doctors’ union delays decision on whether to back new pay deal >

Read: Brian Hayes: ‘Unions who reject new public pay deal will face harsher cuts’ >

Read: LRC chief ‘mesmerised’ by teachers’ decision >

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