ASTI to hold two separate ballots on industrial action

One of the main teaching unions will hold two strike ballots of its 18,000 members over multiple disputesSAM BOAL  ROLLINGNEWS

The union represents 18,000 teachers – more than half of all second-level teachers.

Members are now voting on whether they will withdraw from supervision and substitution.

“In May this year the ASTI balloted and then directed their members to withdraw from these hours, so they have made a decision to withdraw from the operation of these hours and from the Lansdowne Road Agreement – and naturally they don’t get the benefits of an agreement from which they have withdrawn and ceased to cooperate with”, he told Newstalk Breakfast earlier.

Members will now be balloted on industrial action up to and including strike action over new teachers’ pay.

Much of the ASTI campaign is on pay-related matters, following its rejection of the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) on pay and productivity in the public service.

The dispute centres on pay for teachers who were recruited in recent years, and allowances for supervision and substitution duties carried out by teachers in secondary schools.

ASTI general Secretary Kieran Christie, says the union will continue to discuss the issues with the Department of Education. Our goal is simple: we want equal pay for equal work.

The ASTI say they have a mandate to escalate the measure up to strike action.

Substitution and supervision payments were suspended for all teachers for a number of years under the now expired Haddington Road Agreement. The response of the Department of Education in withdrawing pay from ASTI members and targeting young teachers in precarious employment is a considerable over-reaction.

Minister Bruton says the union made a decision to withdraw from the Lansdowne Road Agreement, and will therefore not get the benefits of it.

The results of both ballots are expected by mid-October. The results are due in mid-October; any move to take action requires seven days’ notice.

The first tranche of supervision and substitution payments will appear in paychecks issued later this month. Ballot on Lansdowne Road Agreement/measures taken against ASTI members:ASTI members rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement in 2015.