Education Minister says secondary school strikes on Thursday likely to go ahead

Talks between Richard Bruton's department and the ASTI are due to continue today and tomorrow

Education Minister says secondary school strikes on Thursday likely to go ahead

The ASTI held a protest outside the Dáil to highlight the fact that recently qualified teachers are on inferior pay scales | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The Education Minister says he believes this week's strike by secondary school teachers is likely to go ahead.

Parents are preparing for widespread closures of secondary schools on Thursday.

Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) say strike action is still on the cards, after they failed to reach a resolution with the Department of Education yesterday.

The teaching union is staging the the first of seven days of strikes this week in a dispute over pay for new teachers.

Further talks will take place today and tomorrow between the and the department and the union, which represents some 17,000 secondary teachers.

It has been reported that there is still a significant gap between the two sides.

Minister Richard Bruton says it looks likely a resolution will not be reached by Thursday.

"At this stage [...] they have not indicated to us that they are considering not going ahead with the industrial dispute," he explained.

"So we are obviously meeting with the management bodies to put contingency plans as best we can in place."

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on education, Thomas Byrne, says both sides need to come back to the talks table with a view to resolving this ongoing dispute.

["I think it's absolutely necessary from the minister's point of view that he outlines his advocacy for young teachers, and outlines a way forward to achieve full equality in terms of pay.

"Also there's an obligation on the ASTI as well to loom at what their colleagues in the TUI and INTO are receiving.

"And I would hope that they could look at the Lansdowne Road Agreement and see what's possible within that and see the pay rises that their colleagues are achieving".

The ASTI has not signed up to the new Lansdowne Road public sector pay deal.

The union has announced seven days of strikes over the next three months.

The action is in response to lower pay for recently qualified teachers and the worsening of ASTI members’ terms and conditions.