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ASTI members unable to apply for certain new positions within Schools March 16, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

Was talking to someone who teaches in a Community School who was at a staff meeting recently where it was announced that as part of the Haddington Road Agreement there were to be a number of new posts of Responsibility created for the school. The School Principal then went on to say that as these were new posts, and ASTI has not signed up to Haddington Road, that ASTI members need not apply.
For the last number of years only Principal ,some Deputy Principal and Assistant Principal (known as an “A Post”) positions have been available to be filled. No new Special Duties (B Posts) were created and the majority of these B Posts were not filled were a post holder to leave, retire or be promoted. In effect a lot of careers were stunted.
There is talk of people who wish to apply now switching unions to the TUI or going with the increasing number of non union secondary teachers. What happens though in a school which is almost all ASTI?


1. EWI - March 16, 2017

How can this possibly be legal? Does the State now recognise and give the force of law to closed shops for certain trade unions such as the TUI?


Jolly Red Giant - March 16, 2017

The government are determined to give ASTI a spanking for daring to challenge them – and it is being done with the acquiescence of the TUI.


An Cathaoirleach - March 17, 2017

Pre-entry agreements, “closed shops” are legal & constitutional in Ireland. The constitutionality of such arrangements were tested & found to be legitimate as membership of a trade union was found to be a positive thing.


WorldbyStorm - March 17, 2017

Where I work on contract to the PS only SIPTU is recognised as the union (for negotiating purposes) – despite some people being members of other unions.


RosencrantzisDead - March 17, 2017

Do you have a citation for this?

Also, a pre-entry requirement would not be a ‘closed shop’ as it leaves open the possibility of a person leaving an organisation/union following employment.


Jolly Red Giant - March 17, 2017

I am 100% in favour of closed shops – but they should be imposed by the strength of a trade union’s ability to organised – not orchestrated by the government with the acquiescence of a more subservient union.


2. crocodileshoes - March 17, 2017

An interesting case study in how pressure operates in Irish politics is just starting: junior cycle students are campaigning to have the deeply ridiculous 2-hour ( formerly 5-hour) English exam extended, to allow them to show at least some of what they’ve learnt. I predict that this campaign will succeed, the minister will present it as evidence that his department is ‘listening’ – and the fact that his own employees, in the ASTI,have been pointing out the obvious drawbacks of the new assessment for years will be ignored. FG dogma that your workers are never right, only self-interested, must be maintained.


An Cathaoirleach - March 17, 2017

My experience is that membership of the ASTI is very low, even in schools where there is no right of representation granted to the TUI, voluntary schools.

In the school whose BofM I formerly chaired, membership fluctuated between 50-60%. They are unusual in allowing retired members to vote in many ballots.

This is going to end in a massive defeat for the ASTI.


RosencrantzisDead - March 17, 2017

This is going to end in a massive defeat for the ASTI.

You made similar remarks regarding Mandate’s dispute with Tesco…


dublinstreams - March 17, 2017

the Examinations board is blaming the private providers of mocks exams papers http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/junior-certs-will-have-time-to-complete-new-english-exam-1.3013661 is this the first year the English exams is one paper? Hadn’t realised it was when I read about the petition the other day. Its been a while but was the English exams split by essay and other stuff or was it split by poetry and novels?


3. Jim Monaghan - March 17, 2017

I am bemused that ASTI and the TUI allow schools to employ retired teachers to substitute, supervise exams and mark exams.No wonder new teachers find it hard to get started. This, I am sorry top say, means hat they cannot enforce this in schools


Jolly Red Giant - March 17, 2017

There are very few, if any, retired teachers carrying out substitution duties in schools – there are a large number of unemployed and under-employed teachers and the new rules for payment of substitution means that the amount available is dramatically reduced.

Supervising, and in particular, marking the exams are a different story. They are a major hassle – and not worth it. I used to correct exams but don’t anymore. I didn’t correct them for the money – but to see what the examiners expected in the subject. Last year a friend outlined that she worked for four weeks correcting papers – up to 60 hours a week and after she paid tax etc and a childminder she came out with a net €440.

The state exams commission are having a massive problem getting qualified people to do the job – constantly advertising, constantly trying to cajole teachers into doing it – and it ususally ends up being teachers on part-time contracts or no contracts at all. Even then it really isn’t worth it financially.


Jim Monaghan - March 18, 2017
Jolly Red Giant - March 18, 2017

Not surprisingly this is somewhat misleading. The article says that retired teachers worked an average of a week in a school – but it was most likely a day or a half a day here and there every couple of months in a very small rural primary school after the school has made many attempts to find a substitute.

At second level it might be a class or two every now and again because of a shortage of a subject teacher or in a special school with a shortage of teacher skills.

I have been a teacher for 12 years and a retired teacher has never substituted in my school. Last year we had a teacher who had a contract for 6 hours a week over 5 days and drove 30 miles to work. I have a relative who has been working as a teacher for five years in the same school yet does not have a contract and is literally day-to-day.

This is the reality for many newly qualified teachers in this country. The stuff about retired teachers subbing really is a red herring – it is a minuscule amount in comparison to the overall situation and is used as a diversion for the disgraceful treatment of NQTs.

ASTI have made mistakes in how they approached the dispute – specifically lumping several different disputes into the one pot (S&S, yellow pack pay for NQTs, new JC etc) – they should have focused on the pay for NQTs – won that battle which they could have and then used it as a springboard for fighting the other battles. But the reality is that I, as a TUI member, have significantly benefited from the stand taken by ASTI – because the government was forced to make concessions to keep the unions within LR. On top of that the other unions have basically shafted ASTI because they have refused to play ball with the ‘national programmes’ and they was willing to hang ASTI out to dry – leading to stuff like that posted in the OP.


crocodileshoes - March 18, 2017

Subject areas very relevant. You can’t find a decent sub teacher in subject a while you’ll have 20 candidates for subject b. JRG is right re exam marking: it’s all taxed at the marginal rate so, by definition, the most experienced teachers won’t see it as worthwhile.
The ASTI dispute re Junior Cycle ‘reform’ is a rare example of disinterested industrial action, in that the financial interests of the teachers involved can only be damaged. There’s no profit in it if teachers win, plenty of pain along the way. The bottom line is that preservation of educational standards is more important than preservation of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.


Jolly Red Giant - March 18, 2017

I have been very critical of the approach of both the TUI and ASTI in relation to the JC reforms. The union leaderships have focused the correction and certification of JC exams which opened the unions to accusations that it was all about money. I have been correcting PLC courses for years as a normal part of my work – I correct homework every week as part of my work. The originally proposed assessment in the JC would have not meant a whole lot in terms of extra work for me.

The issue that I have with the JC reforms relate to a much wider approach by a neo-liberal government. At the same time as the JC reforms were initially proposed Brendan Howlin as Minister for Public Expenditure (and with the full support of Ruairi Quinn at the time – obviously prompted by his consultancy with the education privatisation lobby group he was paid by) began talking about giving school principals total control over the schools budget – including the allocation of teacher salaries – in effect changing the status from a school principal responsible for the education of children to a CEO running a business. Take this in conjunction with the proposals for short courses as part of the JC.

A couple of years ago I had a discussion with a book publisher about school text books and he told me that they were already planning for the short courses and putting together short course packages. There are undoubtedly private companies looking at the ‘opportunities’ to provide short course packages.

Now – consider the following – a private company who has a short course package approaches a school principal who has complete control over the school budget. The private company provides everything – textbooks, materials and a teacher – for the delivery of the short course. The principal looks at the package and says – well I can get an entire package for ‘X’ – or – I can go all the donkey work and have all the hassle of getting my own teachers and my own timetable and my own accounts – and the ‘package’ will probably be cheaper because the ‘teacher’ will be paid minimum wage or a little more.

Every time I have raised this the union bureaucrats dismiss it out of hand – claiming they have a commitment that a qualified teacher will have to be present during the delivery of short courses. But these private ‘packages’ will include a qualified teacher who is unemployed – who will just be paid for the hours worked on a sh*te wage and a zero hour contract. And all I hear is ‘ah- that won’t happen’ – despite the fact that private companies are already planning for it.

The real danger is the potential privatisation of education – something the neo-liberals would drive through if they had the opportunity – something the union leaderships are ignoring.


SMC - March 29, 2017

“”ASTI have made mistakes in how they approached the dispute – specifically lumping several different disputes into the one pot (S&S, yellow pack pay for NQTs, new JC etc) – they should have focused on the pay for NQTs – won that battle which they could have and then used it as a springboard for fighting the other battles””
Deciding to go it alone on J.C issues (their exec not issuing a ballot recommendation) when the T.U.I & themselves had got significant concessions from Minister was a serious tactical error. All the other ‘mistakes’ stem from that, I think. At no stage was the length of the English exam a real issue until the mocks this year. I say this as someone teaching English to Junior Cycle who has attended the in-services.
I agree with JRG regards the proposed short courses and it is one that regularly comes up at my branch meetings and as a T.U.I member you will be aware that it is also a serious issue in Further Education. I do not agree though that we have lost this battle but agree that vigilance and strong resistance is needed.
Regards substitution, I think we might be facing a major problem in particular in regards to certain second level subjects. Understandably not all NQTs have waited on in this country with poorer post 2012 conditions and may in certain subject areas moved into other job areas as well. Whether the gap will be filled with retired teachers remains to be seen.

“”I have a relative who has been working as a teacher for five years in the same school yet does not have a contract and is literally day-to-day””

What are the objective grounds for refusing CID in this case? The implementation of Ward report has made these stories far less frequent.


Jolly Red Giant - March 31, 2017

SMC – I never said ‘the battle is lost’ – that battle has still to be fought. The problem is that the union leaderships are not making preparations for this battle and have in my opinion focussed on the wrong issues.

I do agree with your point about PLCs – it has the potential to become a major issue.

As for the lack of a CID – it is a bit complicated, suffice to say that the Board of Management (the school is not a normal secondary school) argue that the hours are not guaranteed by the dept. so they cannot grant a CID.


4. Tomboktu - March 17, 2017

I know that in the early years of the last decade, the former Equality Authority called for union membership to be added to the list of discriminatory grounds in the Employment Equality Act (among others, including gender identity, socio-economic status, and criminal conviction).

That never happened. Does anybody know if Congress looked for that law to be changed?

Liked by 1 person

5. irishelectionliterature - March 29, 2017

Circular on difference between TUI and ASTI pay from 1 April. http://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0020_2017.pdf


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