Teachers step closer to strike action over government vaccine changes
Industrial action looks likely unless an agreement can be reached.
The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) have voted for an emergency motion backing industrial action, up to and including strike action, if they are not prioritised for vaccination.
It comes after a decision was made by the government to change the rollout of the vaccine to an age-based programme from an occupation-based one, when the most medically vulnerable and over 70s were inoculated.
The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and will debate the motion on Wednesday.
The motion demands teachers be reinstated as a priority vaccination group due to the fact "the essential nature of their work which requires them to be in daily contact with a large number of people from a large number of households". The unions further argue that social distancing is "problematic" and "not assured" due to the crowded nature of the work environments.
The unions also demand early vaccination within the overall cohort of education staff, of pregnant teachers, those in higher risk categories and those who work in special schools, special classes, and home school community liaison teachers.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the unions said: "In the event that government does not agree to schedule by the end of the current school year, vaccinations on the basis demanded above, Convention mandates a ballot of members for industrial action, up to and including strike action".