Teachers to pull substitution duties as strike averted
TEACHERS represented by the ASTI will withdraw from substitution duties from September following a vote on the last day of the union’s turbulent 2017 conference.
Delegates voted against strike action next month but voted to protest outside Leinster House during pay talks over the summer.
‘That ASTI direct all members to withdraw from all unpaid classroom substitution, covered by the supervision and substitution scheme beginning on the first day of the next school year,’ the motion passed by delegates yesterday read.
ASTI members are not paid for supervision and substitution as a result of the union rejecting the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
INTO and TUI members are paid for carrying out these duties because they signed up to the agreement.
Last year, intermittent strike action coupled with the withdrawal from supervision and substitution by ASTI members led to the closure of a number of schools on various days in the winter and invoked chaos in the school system.
However, a spokesman for the ASTI said it does not envision school closures in September as a result of the action.
‘We believe that it is very easy for schools to put in some kind of a contingency in relation to substitution much easier than it would be than if we would have withdrawn from the whole supervision and substitution scheme,’ the spokesman said.
‘So basically schools would normally pay for a certain type of substitution anyway.
‘So there is a model or practice in schools of paid substitution.
‘So we believe that by withdrawing from this part of the scheme that schools will be able to remain open.’
Strike action beginning on May 16 ‘to force the issue on equal pay in the context of pay talks’ was voted down.
The ASTI will ballot its members on industrial action in September if equal pay for equal work is not achieved.
The TUI voted to take the same action during its conference in Cork yesterday.
‘This close to exam season the members felt that it would be the wrong time to strike because people would be getting ready for exams,’ ASTI president Ed Byrne said. ‘We do know our students are under enough stress already without adding [to it].’
Teachers hired post-2011 are on a lower pay scale to their colleagues hired before.
This remains a source of discontent across all teachers’ unions.
Tensions have run high during the ASTI conference in Killarney, Co. Kerry.
Delegates have criticised union leadership, with some saying they have been left out in the cold as a result of the rejection of Lansdowne Road. It was revealed this week that the union has lost 450 members since the start of the year.