Teachers union secures mandate for industrial action

Members of the ASTI, the main trade union for second level teachers, have voted to take industrial action unless the Government immediately addresses key Covid-19 issues in schools.

These include the need for a comprehensive testing programme, rapid testing and turnaround, and appropriate resources for schools to ensure continuation of learning where there are school closures/ self-isolation.

ASTI President Ann Piggott said: “ASTI members are clearly stating that they want schools to remain open for students during this pandemic.

"They are demanding that the Government step up and provide 24-hour test turnaround, a redefinition of close contacts for school settings, a comprehensive testing programme, and appropriate arrangements for teachers categorised as ‘high risk’. We must be supported in sustaining education for our children and young people.”

ASTI members have mandated the union to pursue a range of issues. These include the provision of IT resources for students and teachers to facilitate continuity of learning.

ASTI members also decided that they will not accept unilateral decisions by some schools to implement changes to working conditions without any consultation with teaching staff.

“Teachers are unwavering in their commitment to providing a quality education and to supporting their students at this stressful and uncertain time,” said Ms Piggott. “However, the ASTI will not countenance exploitative attempts to introduce unnecessary work changes without consensus which have a further negative impact on teachers’ work and workload. This smacks of crisis opportunism.”

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