The #edchatie discussion tonight was around the recent agreement between TUI, INTO and the DES and whether it would be accepted in a ballot. I haven’t read every tweet because I was inundated with replies to tweets I posted repeatedly asking the simple question: how will strike action, if it happens, move the ASTI closer to resolving the issue? I didn’t receive a single clear or worthwhile answer.
What is obvious is that post-2011 teachers are angry and want to direct that anger somewhere. However what is also evident is that they have been given false hope. They have been led to believe that their issue was the key to ASTI rejection of the Lansdowne Road Agreement and a strike will lead to a better deal for them. Neither of these assertions is true.
First the LRA rejection was never just about the pay scales of post-2011 teachers, unfortunately their issue is being used as a reason to cause chaos for political ends. Of 16 reasons to reject it, one referred to ‘newly appointed teachers’ in this publication.
And second any action will only lead us back to the agreement with the other teacher unions. Nobody has given even the tiniest reason to believe the DES will give a preferential deal to the ASTI that goes beyond what is agreed with the other unions already.
Post-2011 teachers will come to realise they have been overpromised. They have been told pay equality is a short hop away and that was never the case. Restoring pay, as every trade union knows, every union except ours, it seems, is a process that requires negotiation. Progress has been made, ignoring that is dishonest. No clear path to a solution on the issue has been provided by the leadership.
I believe in pay equality. But it cannot be achieved overnight, painful as that may be to hear. Using one group of teachers as pawns in a political game, using their righteous anger, is an unedifying spectacle to behold.
And by the way: if, as I believe to be the case, this agreement with TUI and INTO was shown to the ASTI, it should be put before members of CEC and ultimately put to a ballot.