Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy has compared the current industrial dispute between the ASTI and the government to the Dublin 1913 Lockout.
With secondary secondary school teachers on strike today in a dispute over pay and conditions, the local TD delivered a statement via his Facebook page in which he said:
“The Government is responsible for the closure of more than 400 schools nationwide and that that the closures represent the largest lockout of trade union workers seen in this country since the 1913 Lockout.
“ASTI teachers are being asked to perform substitution and supervision duties free of charge and it is entirely reasonable for them to refuse to do so.
“The decision to take 17,500 teachers off the payroll and shut more than 400 schools is an attempt to bully ASTI members into performing the duties without payment or to sign up for the Lansdowne Road Agreement which involves younger teachers being paid less for equal work.
“While the government have said they are open to negotiations with ASTI, their actions show that they are intent on trying to take on the teachers to copper-fasten the lowering of their terms and conditions.
Mr Murphy also drew attention to the mainstream media’s attacks on teachers for going on strike and the government’s attempt to turn the public against them through “bullying.”
“This is a serious escalation in their attacks on teachers.
“The full force of the Government propaganda machine has kicked in this morning in an attempt to turn parents against teachers. But many parents will not be taken in by this.
“The responsibility for this lockout rests on the shoulders of a Government which is trying to bully teachers into backing down on the principle of equal pay for equal work by forcing them to do supervision duties for no pay.
“The AAA continues to offer its full support to teachers in ASTI fighting for equal pay for equal work, she said, ahead of their next strike day tomorrow.
“People should continue their support for teachers which was evident during the last strike day, the lock-out today is a clear attempt to divide parents and students against teachers which people shouldn’t fall for.
Meanwhile Taoiseach Enda Kenny has this morning shown which side of the fence he is on by criticising the teachers actions.
Speaking at an Irish Times conference on Brexit earlier he said the industrial action from the ASTI teachers “doesn’t help” as the country tries to respond to Brexit.
He referred to the teachers demands for equal pay for equal work as going back to “the boom-and-bust, the when-I-have-it-I-spend-it recklessness that brought the country to the brink.”
He also said that while Ireland is in “a position of some strength” the country “cannot be in anyway complacent about this.”
“Our education system has to be fit for 21st Century purpose providing our young people with a solid foundation in which they will learn their future skills…
“The unilateral decision of the ASTI to withdraw from supervision and substitution doesn’t help that case.”
“There can be no departure from the responsible management of the public finances.”
“We cannot go back to he said.
“And, to those who argue for a so-called loosening of the purse-strings, they should remember that loose spending eventually has to be reined in, and when that has to happen in an unplanned way, it bears hardest on those who rely most on public services and supports.”