Haddington Road – looking at a crash in slow motion

empty class roomsSenior Government sources have ruled out any prospect of re-negotiating the Haddington Road agreement on public service pay following the rejection of the deal by members of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI). The union which represents some 17,000 secondary school teachers voted to oppose the agreement by 63 per cent to 37 per cent.In a simultaneous ballot they voted by 65 per cent to 35 per cent in favour of industrial action up to and including strike action.The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has voted to accept the Haddington Road deal by 54 per cent to 46 per cent.The ASTI told members this afternoon that they should continue to co-operate with existing supervision and substitution arrangements and the additional hours required under the original Croke Park deal until its standing committee issued specific directives, to ensure that members complied with industrial relations legislation.

ASTI General Secretary Pat King said: “Teachers’ message today is that they have given enough. All second-level teachers are delivering more with far less resources at a time when their pay has been cut significantly and their working conditions have greatly dis-improved.

“The Haddington Road Agreement is a step too far. Second-level schools are at the tipping point, having been stripped of key supports and personnel. Young people’s education has been diminished and their futures compromised. Haddington Road means taking more from education and from teachers.”

He said teachers were reluctant to take industrial action.

“However, the depth of feeling amongst ASTI members is evidenced in the ballot result on industrial action and this will be considered by ASTI Standing Committee at a meeting on Monday morning.”

TUI General Secretary, John MacGabhann said: “TUI members, in a democratic ballot, have decided to accept the Haddington Road Agreement.”

“In doing so they have, with strong reluctance, taken a pragmatic decision to accept the lesser of two evils in the form of the Haddington Road Agreement, as opposed to the unjust and discriminatory Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest legislation, the removal of which the TUI will continue to demand.”

“The commitments in the Agreement with regard to improved salary scales for new teachers and lecturers and the enhanced arrangements for award of Contracts of Indefinite Duration must be put in place without delay.”

The Haddington Road agreement in the education sector provides for pay cuts for those earning more than €65,000, delays in the payment of increments and the abolition of supervision and substitution allowances.

For those earning between €65,000 and €100,000 the deal allows for pay to be restored in two phases by January 2018.

The deal also provides for the payment of next increment due after July 2013 while the payment of others would be delayed for a period.

If the agreement is rejected the Government has said it will invoke financial emergency legislation to generate savings in the paybill.

Under the financial emergency legislation there is no provision for the restoration of pay cuts.

In the event of Haddington Road being rejected by teachers and the Government imposes the financial emergency legislation, increments and incremental progression would be frozen for three years.

Public service groups that remain outside the Haddington Road agreement also face losing the protections of the deal in relation to job security.

Lets hope that this get resolved quickly and that we do not end up with a legacy of bad feeling between colleagues teaching in the same school but with different working conditions because of the unions they are members of. As things now stand there are no winners.

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