TUI says teachers’ existing terms and conditions must be protected in transfer to Education and Training Boards
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has expressed support for the democratic, regional structures of the new Education and Training Boards (ETBs). However, the union said the existing terms and conditions of teachers must be protected in their transfer from Vocational Educational Committees (VECs) to ETBs.
Under the Education and Training Boards Bill the current 33 VECs will be consolidated into 16 new Education and Training Boards. TUI represents the majority of staff employed by VECs.
In a presentation today (Wednesday, October 24th), to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection, TUI demanded that the conditions of service currently held by VEC teachers - including pay, pensions and dismissal rights - must be protected. The union also wants assurances that any redeployment of VEC teachers will be within the terms of the Public Service Agreement (the Croke Park Agreement).
TUI called for parity of representation for parents, teachers and adult learners and for gender balance on the boards of ETBs. Currently, under the ETB Bill, 55% of the membership of the boards would comprise local authority members which, according to the union, is disproportionate. TUI stated that the inclusion of practising teachers on each board is absolutely critical. “The Bill as currently drafted, in our view, provides for statutory representation of political representatives at the expense of other partners whose role in education is no less vital or valuable,” TUI representatives told the Oireachtas Committee.
TUI believes that the appointment and terms and conditions of staff of ETBs should require the consent of the Minister for Education and Skills and should not be determined by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. TUI is concerned about the migration of this function to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the possible implications for the conduct of industrial relations and the negotiation of collective agreements. TUI representatives also expressed concern about the lack of accountability of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ETBs to the board regarding sensitive matters such as industrial relations.
The union reiterated to the Committee, its strong view that the provisions of the Freedom and Information legislation should be applied to ETBs.
TUI President Gerard Craughwell said: “The TUI has always been supportive of local, democratically controlled public education as part of the social contract. We believe high quality public education is best delivered through regional structures and we see the potential of ETBs to deliver coherence to an increasingly broad range of public education services.”
“However, high levels of flexibility and change will be required of teachers in the establishment of the ETBs. It is important that this is recognised and managed appropriately, having regard to the concerns and perspectives of these teachers and the TUI”.
Click here to download the TUI submission on the ETB Bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection.