The President of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) has defended plans to ballot members on industrial action, pointing out that such action was necessary in the event that the Government does not come up with an “acceptable” offer in public sector pay talks.
Miriam Duggan spoke on two national radio breakfast programmes where she explained that the ASTI was concerned about how their members were going to heat their homes. “I hope we don’t need it, but winter is coming.”
If public sector pay talks fail and the Government fails to make an offer that was “credible” then the ASTI needed to be ready to take industrial action.
“We have been waiting for five months of people dealing with rising inflation with no conclusion in sight.”
Ms Duggan declined to specify what percentage rate of increase the union was demanding. She said she would leave the negotiators to do their job, but her members needed to be able to cope with rising inflation.
They needed to be prepared for all eventualities which was why they were going to have the ballot, she said.
Ms Duggan said that the ASTI would support any campaign by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for industrial action “but we hope that we won’t need it".