ASTI industrial action threat is a wake-up call for Government

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
28 October 2020

Labour Education Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D has described the ASTI decision to vote for industrial action, up to strike, if a range of Covid-related safety issues are not addressed as a wake-up call for the Government.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“This a wakeup call for the Government and Minister Foley who have been continually ignoring the concerns expressed by teaching unions and it should not take the threat of industrial action by one of the unions for the Government to actually wake up and listen.

“Some of the concerns expressed by ASTI members in relation to comprehensive and rapid testing, adequate protective gear, socially distancing in schools and the definition of a close contact along with long running issues in relation to pay inequality are reasonable and deserve a fair hearing from the Minister.

“Nobody wants industrial action, but schools are only functioning because of the professionalism and goodwill of staff. This is a direct result of the Minister’s failure to engage and work in partnership with school management and teachers to address the safety concerns that they have.

“The Minister needs to meet the teaching unions as a matter to urgency in and to engage in open constructive dialogue to try and resolve this before it escalates to industrial action. The current system is unsustainable, and teachers deserve to be shown respect and to have their genuine safety concerns addressed.

“This vote is massive wake-up call for the Government. Teachers have a right to a safe working environment and it is incumbent upon the Government to listen and to address their concerns.

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