LIMERICK INTO teachers who are in favour of proposed strike action over the ban on promotions remaining in place have been encouraged to stay at the discussion table as the issues of the organisation can “be sorted out through negotiation”.
Speaking at the University of Limerick this Tuesday, Minister of State at the Department of Education, Damien English TD, said that he is opposed to any proposed strike action and said that we have all come through four or five, maybe even seven very difficult years as a country and as an economy.
“We are now in a better place and we now have more resources to provide better services and that’s part of having this discussion on how to improve things and education is a major part of that,” added the Minister who was speaking after the launch of the University of Limerick’s research and innovation strategy plan to 2020.
“All different groups have concerns to address and we have to find ways to do that” he said and “these are things that can be sorted out through negotiations”.
Minister English was responding to the INTO’s plans to ballot all 33,000 members, including its Limerick teachers attached to the organisation, over the almost eight-year moratorium on promotions introduced as a cost cutting measure in the wake of the 2008 economic crash.
Next month’s ballot will ask teachers to stop all involvement with the Department of Education’s on-going programme of school self-evaluation, which forms part of the inspection process.
INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said the ban on promotions had severely hit the career prospects of un-promoted teachers, increased the work burden on those in promoted posts and was compromising the running of schools.
Minister English said that the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan will be leading the negotiations.
“It has been very difficult for everybody involved in public services over the last five or six years with changes and with less money to provide them and we understand that, so now it is time to see going forward how do we best achieve results and rewarding people for what they do in their job and that is what Jan O’Sullivan is trying to o in education”.