Higher Education

University lecturers' union to ballot members for industrial action in September

The Irish Federation of University Teachers said it will ballot all members unless an agreement is reached on pay.

THE IRISH FEDERATION of University Teachers (IFUT) has said it will ballot its members for industrial action unless an improved pay deal is secured.

The executive committee of the IFUT decided that the ballot would take place in September unless the Government reached an agreement with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) on pay in the meantime.

The union said it will ballot all members in universities and other higher education institutions covered by public sector pay agreements.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) discussions on public sector pay ended without agreement in June, but it is understood that talks are set to resume this month.

The pay talks were convened after the ICTU Public Services Committee invoked a review clause in the current public service agreement, Building Momentum, on foot of high and sustained inflation that wasn’t predicted when the deal was agreed.

At the time, inflation was running at 5.6%. It is currently at 9.1%, the highest rise in the Consumer Price Index since 1984.

“With inflation now at 9.1%, the IFUT executive believe a realistic offer must be made to combat the impact inflation is having on members’ earnings.

Unions are now calling on the government to enter meaningful negotiations to avert any possible industrial action.

IFUT general secretary Frank Jones said it was “the preferred wish of the union to ballot members on a set of pay proposals, not for industrial action, but we will do what is necessary to protect and advance our members’ rights and interests”.

“We will now consult with members throughout the union and commence a ballot of our members in September, should the government fail in the meantime to make a meaningful offer in respect of pay”, he said.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) and the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) have all said that they would ask members to vote next month on potential action.

It comes two weeks after the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) said public sector unions were ramping up preparations for industrial action ballots as part of a coordinated campaign on public sector pay.

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