ASTI to ballot members amidst health concerns for school communities

The ASTI has decided to ballot its members in relation to a number of key issues that have emerged since schools re-opened.

Ann Pigott, President of the Association Teachers Ireland.

Ann Pigott, President of the Association Teachers Ireland (ASTI)

A meeting of the ASTI Central Executive Committee on 19 September 2020 heard that ASTI members have serious concerns about the health and safety of school communities. Issues raised include:

  • Physical distancing in schools
  • Provision of PPE
  • The definition of close contacts
  • Comprehensive testing and testing turnaround times
  • Provisions for high-risk teachers
  • IT resources for students and teachers to facilitate remote teaching/ learning

“The fact that high-risk teachers have been asked to work in crowded classrooms is unacceptable to us as a trade union,” ASTI President Ann Piggott said.

“The safety of students and their teachers must be the priority.”

Ms Piggott said teachers are reporting that new work practices are being implemented without any consultation with school staff.

“It is unthinkable that at a time when teachers have demonstrated tremendous commitment to their students and to keeping education going, that schools would introduce work changes which have a further negative impact on teachers’ working lives. This smacks of crisis opportunism and cannot go unchallenged.”

The ASTI ballot will also cover the difficulties faced by returning teachers who are being forced to work precarious contracts, and those enduring unequal pay.



SOURCE: Materials provided by ASTI 
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.



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