Secondary school strikes in Galway and across the country look likely to continue if a resolution between the ASTI and the Department of Education is not reached.
Up to 17,500 teachers nationwide engaged in their strike action on Monday and Tuesday, seeking ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’. Up to 35 post-primary schools are affected in Galway, where approximately 1,100 teachers are ASTI members.
ASTI members are taking industrial action over ASTI members’ working terms and conditions, and lower pay for recently qualified teachers. ASTI teachers starting in 2016 are being paid 20 per cent below the 2010 starting salary.
ASTI standing committee representative for the Galway region, Noelle Moran, said yesterday that the feeling on the ground is one of solidarity.
“I have visited picket lines today and people feel very strongly on the issue,” she said.
“This is the second day of industrial action and strike for lesser paid teachers of seven that we’ve announced and people want movement from the government.
“They’re not happy that the government are not prepared to commit to two things; the first thing that people are not happy about is that the Minister for Education has not actually come out and said straight up that, even when directly questioned, that he commits to the principle of paid parity for new entrants and lesser paid teachers and the older teachers, and secondly he has absolutely not committed to any kind of a timeline for the restoration of the common basic scale for teachers.”
ASTI President Ed Byrne said yesterday that “the job of a trade union is to protect its most vulnerable members against unfair and inequitable treatment”.
“More than 6,000 recently qualified teachers are on inferior pay scales and will lose out significantly in terms of life time earnings. Approximately 2,000 ASTI teachers are recently qualified teachers. Their introduction to their teaching career has been clouded by inferior pay and precarious contracts. Many of them earn a fraction of a fulltime salary. Ireland’s second-level teachers work hard to promote inclusivity and equal status for students. It is ironic that their employer is at the same time attempting to embed unequal treatment within the teaching profession.”
Further strike action is scheduled for next Wednesday 16 November, Thursday 24 November, Tuesday 29 November, Tuesday 6 December and Wednesday 7 December.
Resolution talks remain ongoing.