ASTI Standing Committee met today to consider the outcome of its recent ballots.
This week, ASTI members voted in favour of industrial action unless the Government moves to address key Covid-19 issues and the matter of unequal pay in teaching.
At the Standing Committee meeting, it was reported that there has been improved engagement with the Department of Education and NPHET and a number of clarifications have been provided. It is expected that this engagement will continue.
ASTI President Ann Piggott said substantial progress on safety issues in schools is needed to avoid industrial action.
These include adequate testing and test turnaround, redefinition of close contacts, IT resources for students and teachers to facilitate continuity of learning, and reasonable accommodations for teachers in the ‘high risk’ category.
“We need much more progress in order to get to the point where teachers believe that the safety of students and teachers is being prioritised during this pandemic.”
The ASTI will regularly review progress as engagement continues.
In a separate ballot, ASTI members voted to take industrial action for equal pay for equal work, to be taken in conjunction with one or both of the other teacher unions.
The meeting decided that the ASTI will contact the other teacher unions the INTO and TUI with a view to seeking a combined effort to bring an end to the scandal of pay inequality.
“The current teacher-shortage crisis is a result of an unfair pay gap that cannot be allowed to continue. Teachers affected are on a different pay scale than their colleagues for their entire career. This destructive policy has caused a drop in morale and has exacerbated a recruitment and retention crisis in second-level teaching. We will be seeking to work with the INTO and the TUI to end pay inequality,” said the ASTI President.