School Stewards

Election of School Steward

The election of the School Steward should take place annually.

The ASTI members of the staff of every school which has more than one teacher who is a member of the Association should elect a School Steward. Branches should ensure that this happens. This election should take place by May 1st of each year and the newly elected School Steward shall, as soon as possible, notify Head Office using the appropriate form, the Regional Organiser and Honorary Secretary of his / her branch and where the staff consists of members of more than one branch, the Honorary Secretaries of the branches concerned, of his / her election. The School Steward’s term of office commences on 1st May.

Necessary expenses of the School Steward shall be reimbursed by the branch of which he / she is a member.

The School Steward shall, through the branch, be supplied with all necessary documentation and receipt books.

The General Secretary shall, as soon as possible after May 15th of each year, notify each school manager of the name of the School Steward elected by the staff of his / her school.

When a School Steward is absent from a school, essential and immediate matters could be undertaken by a deputy, this matter being arranged yearly at the time of election.

Where school membership exceeds a certain number (20), the functions, but not the constitutional duties of the School Steward, might be lightened by the adoption of a committee system whereby certain tasks would be undertaken by other union members. Such a procedure would enhance the work of the union in a school, both in terms of efficiency and effect. The position of the School Steward should remain of paramount importance. The size of the committee could be flexible and relative to each particular situation.

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Duties and Responsibilities of School Stewards

The duties of the School Steward are stated in ASTI Rule 55 but may be summarised as follows

Duties and responsibilities of school stewards

The duties of the School Steward are stated in ASTI Rule 55 as follows:

  1. Each ASTI school staff group shall elect a School Steward to be their official union representative.
  2. The election shall take place on or before 1st May each year and the newly elected School Steward
    shall, as soon as possible, notify ASTI Head Office of his/her election.
  3. The School Steward shall be the official representative of the ASTI in the school. He/she shall be responsible to the Association for the conduct of the affairs of the Association within the school.
  4. The School Steward shall endeavour to ensure that all eligible teachers employed in the school become and remain members of the Association
  5. The School Steward should arrange the distribution to members of ASTI literature and information.
  6. The School Steward shall forward to Head Office information on ASTI membership in the school if requested by the General Secretary.
  7. The School Steward shall act in consultation with and on behalf of the ASTI members in the School.
  8. The School Steward shall convene at least one school ASTI meeting per term.
  9. On receipt of an agenda and a request for a meeting signed by at least half of the ASTI members in the school, the School Steward shall convene a meeting of ASTI members.
  10. Necessary expenses of the School Steward may be reimbursed by the local ASTI Branch.
  11. The School Steward may if he/she sees fit arrange for the election of a School Union Committee, this committee to consist of three members including the School Steward. The School Steward may delegate some duties to the other members of the School Union Committee. Where deemed appropriate by the school steward this committee may act on behalf of the ASTI staff.
  12. The School Steward has responsibility for distributing ASTI ballot documentation to members, ensuring that the electoral register is correctly signed and returning the completed ballots to ASTI Head Office.

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Recruitment Duties

New teachers who are eligible for ASTI membership should be approached at the very earliest opportunity. Use may be made of ASTI recruitment publications. A special meeting should be held for potential members, if numbers so dictate, on the first or second day of the new school term, at which the benefits and positive values of ASTI membership should be presented to them. If necessary, the Honorary Branch Organiser, Community and Comprehensive Advisory Committee member, Central Executive Council member or Head Office Official should attend. A commitment to join should be sought at the outset and the School Steward may collect the completed application forms at the end of the meeting or they may be returned directly to Head Office by the applicant.

Where a teacher, who is not a member of another trade union which is affiliated to ICTU, declines to avail of ASTI membership, the reasons for this particular stance should be sought and the misgivings, if any, dealt with; the benefits of individual membership, the teacher’s obligation to the wider teaching body, the influence and advantages (financial, professional and otherwise) which accrue to teachers through a strong union should all be emphasised.

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Inter-union Co-operation

Where other unions exist within a school, including non-teaching ones, contact should be regular and friendly, so as to ensure that common approaches and/or support will be forthcoming in dealings with management when the need arises. Issues of mutual concern should be processed jointly and the other teaching unions should be advised of any difficulties which the ASTI members are experiencing with management.

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School ASTI Meetings

  1. A meeting of members in each school should be convened at least once in every term.
  2. At least three days notice should be given of the intention to hold an ordinary meeting.
  3. An extraordinary meeting may be called at shorter notice by the School Steward or at the request of not less than fifty per cent of the members in the school having signed a requisition indicating the purpose of the proposed meeting.
  4. No business other than indicated on the requisition may be discussed at such an extraordinary meeting.
  5. A record of those present and the business discussed and the decisions taken at all meetings must be kept.
  6. At the beginning of each meeting, the minutes of the previous meeting should be read and, if approved, signed by the School Steward.
  7. In general, it is desirable that the School Steward should be assisted in keeping the minutes so that he/she can more effectively participate in the meeting.
  8. A motion for inclusion on an agenda shall not be in order unless signed by the proposer and seconder.
  9. If there is no consensus on an issue or resolution it should be put to a vote by a show of hands.
  10. Should a tied vote occur, the chairperson, who is usually the School Steward, shall use his/her casting vote except where an election involving a secret ballot is taking place, e.g. Board of Management election. In the event of a tied ballot a second ballot shall be held. The matter should be decided by lot if a second tied ballot occurs.
  11. Should serious matters arise under “Any Other Business” it may be desirable to postpone taking a decision and to put the matter on the agenda for another meeting.
  12. In no circumstances may a motion be accepted which seeks to circumvent ASTI policy or a union directive.
  13. It is desirable that the union have the use of rooms in the school during or after school hours. (A standing arrangement should be made between the School Steward and management on this matter).

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ASTI Information Leaflet for School Stewards

 View ASTI Information Leaflet for School Stewards from September, 2018 here.

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School Steward Election Form 2020/2021

Download the the election form for 2020/2021 here.

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ASTI Circulars to School Stewards 2020

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ASTI Circulars to School Stewards 2019

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