INTO members call for immediate industrial action ballot

The group has criticised INTO leadership for agreeing to participate in a pay equality review

Teachers, strike, Lansdowne Road Agreement, TUI, Gerry Quinn

A pupil practices cursive writing at school | Image: Al Behrman / AP/Press Association Images

Members of the Irish National Teachers Organisation have called on the union’s leadership to hold an immediate ballot for industrial action.

It comes after the union was forced to deny reports yesterday that it had accepted the new public service pay deal.

The union had originally recommended that its members reject the deal – as it failed to address the pay equality issue.

Teachers recruited after 2012 are currently paid 10% less than those recruited earlier.

A total of 89% of the INTO membership voted to reject the deal in a July vote.

The union’s executive council yesterday insisted that while it had agreed to participate in a government review of pay equality – it had made no decision regarding the wider agreement.

However internal activist group Glór has warned today that participating in the review is a de facto acceptance of the deal.

“The agreement states that there will be no pay equalisation for the duration of the agreement,” he said. “That is not acceptable to INTO members.

“Lower-paid teachers have been waiting for pay equalisation since 2011 and they are not content to wait any longer.

“Union members are not content to wait any longer; we have an 89% mandate to say we want pay equalisation now.”

He called for the union to hold an immediate ballot for industrial action – insisting that by participating in the review the executive was ignoring the wishes of union members:

“89% of the members of the unions have given the leadership a mandate that says we want pay equalisation now and we are not content with a review.

“We believe what should have happened is the INTO leadership should have taken a ballot for industrial action and strengthened their hand in any negotiations that would take place with the government.

“Negotiations and talks have to take place outside of the context of the Public Service Stability Agreement.”

Yesterday the INTO executive said the review process provided a significant advancement on the overall terms of the agreement – adding that the government had brought it forward by a year.

It insisted the INTO had been successful in advancing the pay equality issue over previous public service pay agreements – adding that it was “determined to do so further” in the context of the new agreement.