TUI members employed by Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB to take industrial action over breach of teacher transfer agreement

By piofficer, Thursday, 6th June 2024 | 0 comments

Members of the Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Branches of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) employed by the Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB) will take strike action in September because of the continuing failure of the employer to honour and implement the terms of the relevant collective agreement on the transfer of staff.

In a recent ballot, the TUI members in the branches voted by a margin of 95% to 5% to engage in industrial action should this completely unacceptable situation remain unresolved.

The Union remains open to having this matter resolved, subject to adherence to the relevant collective agreement.

Speaking today, TUI President, David Waters stated

‘We have used and exhausted multiple avenues to bring this matter to resolution. Regrettably, due to the continuing failure of MSLETB to adhere to the terms of the national collective agreement on the transfer of teachers we have been left with no choice but to take strike action.

Following lengthy negotiation, MSLETB finally agreed in May to adhere to and apply this critically important collective agreement. However this pledge has now been broken by  the ETB as it has decided to transfer a teacher beyond the 45km limit agreed with the Department of Education and the TUI.

Therefore, in addition to strike action in September, the Union has issued a directive to any member who is being compelled by MSLETB to transfer beyond the 45km limit to report to work in their current base location at the commencement of the next school year and will protect any such member.

The overwhelming mandate and strong ballot turnout shows the significant strength of feeling among members on this critical employment issue.

A transfer is a very significant event in any teacher’s working life, with obvious and considerable  professional and personal implications. It is also important to note that MSLETB covers the largest area of any ETB in the country, which potentially makes the implication of mandatory transfers all the more significant.

In recognition of this fact, any transfer is subject to the terms of a national collective agreement (the 1999 TUI/IVEA Transfer agreement) in the case of teachers and to the established procedures and contractual arrangements in the case of other grades. This affords the protection of fair process to all concerned – including school/centre and ETB management. The agreed limit – confirmed by the Department of Education – for transfer is 45km from the teacher’s existing base location or home, whichever is the shorter commute.

TUI respects collective agreements and we expect employers to do the same.

Regrettably, and despite our interventions and continuous efforts to resolve this issue, MSLETB has failed in its duty to adhere to this collective agreement.  As a result, the TUI has been left with no option other than to proceed with industrial  action.

Transfers must be treated with due seriousness and our members must be treated with respect. We cannot and will not allow MSLETB – or any ETB for that matter - to transfer a member without following the agreed procedures and adhering to the agreed limits.

The TUI, as always, remains willing to having this matter resolved, subject to adherence to the relevant collective agreement.’