Nolan made the comments this week
Commenting on reports that ASTI members could be facing redundancy, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Carol Nolan has said such a move would not be in the interests of the education system as a whole. The Offaly TD said: “The handling of the dispute between the Department of Education and ASTI has been woefully handled by successive Ministers for Education."
“The failure of the Government to deal with core issues such as Equal Pay for Equal Work and the fair and orderly unwinding of FEMPI has led to the escalation of this dispute," she added.
“It appears from comments made by the Minister that he is more concerned with appearing the ‘tough man’ than protecting the interests of the education system. To make any teacher forcibly redundant in the current climate, where we have some of the highest class sizes in Europe and there is clear demand for teachers due to demographic growth, is ludicrous and clearly an example where the Minister would be cutting off his nose to spite his face," she continued.
“Reports that the Minister is considering establishing a mechanism whereby ASTI teachers would be protected from redundancy if they leave their union is nothing short of a scandalous attack on collective bargaining rights. The escalation of this dispute is causing huge stress to students and parents, particularly those who are facing exams in just a few short months."
“The Minister's intransigence and marked reluctance in further engaging with the union to resolve issues of contention means this crisis is now reaching boiling point."
“Both sides must be willing to engage in constructive dialogue in order to reach agreement on the way forward to deal with these matters. There is a real need for the Government to put in place a road map to deal with outstanding public sector pay issues before Budget 2018 is announced in October."
“All public sector unions must be involved in talks on a new pay agreement, which must prioritise Equal Pay for Equal Work, low and middle income public sector workers and the timeline for fair and orderly pay restoration,” she concluded.
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