Teachers' strike likely to go ahead tomorrow despite last minute talks

The ASTI and Department of Education officials are sitting down for talks this afternoon

Teachers' strike likely to go ahead tomorrow despite last minute talks

Pictured (L to R) ASTI general secretary, Kieran Christie, ASTI President Ed Byrne, at the Department of Education and Skills. Image: RollingNews.ie

Tomorrow's strike by secondary school teachers looks almost certain to go ahead despite last minute talks.

Hundreds of schools will be affected when ASTI members down tools in the first day of their industrial action campaign.

ASTI members and officials from the Department of Education re-entered talks at around 2.30pm this afternoon.

On the way in ASTI President Ed Byrne said he was not confident that tomorrow's strike can be averted.

"I think today's talks may be more about setting up more talks for next week," he explained.

One of the main sticking points for the ASTI is the restoration of pay for new teachers, which is due to be done under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Teachers want it now - but if the Government parts from Lansdowne other public sector unions signed up to it are likely to look for their own pay to be restored.

Vice-president of the ASTI, Ger Curtin, says it is all down to the Government.

"If the schools shut down it's the Government are shutting them down - and they're shutting them down over €65, per teacher, per week.

"That's the reality of it".

Minister Bruton told Newstalk Breakfast there is an offer on the table, but it looks like Thursday's strike will happen.

"But I'd have to say that at this stage there's been no indication from the ASTI that they plan to call off the dispute.

"So that's the situation that we're in.

"Talking is continuing, but there's no indication that the dispute will not go ahead".

He also reiterated that there can be no special public pay deal for any one sector.

Once tomorrow's action is over, the focus will switch to whether schools will be able to re-open following next week's midterm break.

The ASTI is planning a withdrawal from supervision and substitution duties.

Revised proposals for the GRA

Meanwhile, talks between the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) and the Department of Justice are entering their third day.

The union, representing middle-ranking officers, has scheduled a 24-hour work-to-rule for this Friday.

Next month, rank and file members with the Garda Representative Association (GRA) have planned four days' of strike action.

Both of the garda unions are pressuring the Government to resolve their long running row over pay and conditions.

It is reported a new pay deal will be put to members of the force to try and resolve their dispute.

According to the Irish Times, it is hoped the leadership of the GRA will consider revised proposals from the Government later this week.

The offer would still be within the parameters of the Lansdowne Road pay agreement.

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald again insisted the Lansdowne Road pay deal cannot be abandoned in efforts to avoid a garda strike.