Tuesday 16 January 2018

Department of Education release wrong figures on teachers' strikes


Jan O'Sullivan
Jan O'Sullivan

The Department of Education has landed itself in hot water with teachers' unions after releasing incorrect figures claiming more teachers went to work than on strike over proposed changes to the Junior cycle programme.

The Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) blasted reports in a daily newspaper today claiming more secondary school teachers were paid for the two recent strike days than had their pay docked for being absent.

Corrected figures released today by the deparment said over 15,000 teachers had not been paid because of strike action while almost 2,500 had been paid because they turned up for work.

An ASTI spokeswoman this morning issued a statement to say the first figures reported on were "completely inaccurate".

"The Department of Education and Skills has confirmed to the ASTI that the figures are incorrect," said the spokeswoman.

The Teachers Union of Ireland has described the publication of inaccurate information as "deeply regrettable".

"The real figures, clarified by the department of education today, demonstrate the overwhelming support of teachers for the position of the unions in respect of Junior Cycle and for the industrial action," said a TUI spokesman.

The Department of Education confirmed to the Herald that more teachers had gone on strike that had not.

Both ASTI and TUI members voted overwhelmingly last year for the strike action to fight proposed changes to the junior cycle programme including the way in which exams and assessments are marked.

Further strike action is proposed by the teachers at lunchtime on May 7 as the ongoing controversry over the education reform shows no sign of ending.

The unions have also ordered members to boycott teacher training programmes.

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