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20th Apr 2022

Irish teachers’ union agrees to defer threat of strike action over pay increase calls

Stephen Porzio

“One thing about the ASTI members is they do have the stomach for a fight.”

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) has agreed to pause a proposal to ballot for industrial action.

It comes after the union said it is seeking a “substantial” pay increase for its members to offset the rising cost of living in the country.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Tuesday, the ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie stated the union would be seeking a pay increase of between 6% and 8%.

“We are seeking an increase in relation to pay to compensate for [the cost of living] and the truth of the matter is that the planned increases on top of the ineffectual increases we’ve had over the last couple of years won’t cut it, and we need a substantial pay rise to compensate for that, and to put teaching back on an even keel,” Christie said.

When asked if the union – which represents 18,000 teachers – would consider industrial action to achieve this goal, he said it was “too early” to say that but the ASTI “certainly” wouldn’t rule it out.

At the union’s annual three-day conference – which kicked off on Tuesday – a motion was proposed that the ASTI ballot members with a view to undertaking industrial action, up to and including strike action, until a number of demands were met.

One of the demands was “a pay rise for all teachers to counter the increasing costs of living” within Ireland.

However, the proposal was deferred so that the union could first discuss with the Government a potential solution to the issue before holding a ballot.

“One thing about the ASTI members is they do have the stomach for a fight,” ASTI President Eamon Dennehy told RTÉ News.

“But I think we would prefer negotiation first.”

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