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Teachers and lecturers threaten strike in job security and wages row

Published 15/01/2016

Teachers are threatening strike action before the general election
Teachers are threatening strike action before the general election

Secondary teachers and lecturers have threatened to strike on one day before the general election.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), which has more than 14,500 members in schools and third level colleges, revealed 89% backed industrial action amid concerns over job security, wages for newly qualified staff and cutbacks.

The TUI said teaching graduates who joined the workforce from February 2012 are paid 21.7% less than those who began working before 2011.

Union president Gerry Quinn said unless the demand for talks is met by Government then the action will go ahead.

"To make matters worse, for several years now, second level teachers have been applying for fractions of jobs with no guarantee of being retained from year to year," Mr Quinn said.

"Some 30% of second-level teachers are employed on a temporary and/or part-time basis and this proportion grows to 50% for those under 35."

A date for the threatened industrial action by teachers has yet to be decided.

Earlier this week the TUI revealed its members in Institutes of Technology will take a day's strike action on February 3 over serious concerns about issues within their sector.

The union warned about casualisation in the education ranks where students are being taught by a succession of teachers for subjects over the course of the Junior or Leaving Certificate cycles.

"Clearly, this is undesirable," Mr Quinn said.

"We are hearing more frequently that it is becoming increasingly difficult for schools to attract new teachers in certain subject areas.

"Graduates who had intended to undertake a masters in teaching and, increasingly, qualified teachers across a range of subjects are routinely finding better paid and more secure employment in industry."

The TUI also warned students are suffering as a promotion ban continues to block the filling of posts of responsibility such as year head and the budgets for guidance counselling have also been cut.

A survey of 545 teachers by the union last year found 96% of teachers agreed that their workload had increased significantly in recent years with the TUI warning the volume of box-ticking and form-filling duties has grown exponentially.

"Teacher workload has increased significantly and administrative duties are deflecting teacher time from the core roles of classroom teaching and learning," Mr Quinn said.

He added: " Despite the current rhetoric about economic recovery, anti-educational cutbacks continue to have a devastating effect on the quality of service to students in terms of larger class sizes, less access to one-to-one attention and less pastoral support."

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