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Response to a blogger’s 20 Reasons to vote yes this time.

What follows is a reply to some of  20 reasons for the ASTI to vote yes in the current ballot on the, ‘Outcome of DES & ASTI Discussions’ proposals according to a blogger.  (Numbering refers to original numbers in blogger’s post, which I link to below).

1. He states that the Lansdowne Road train is about to leave the station, it has left the station but they keep bringing it back for us because they really want us on it. Just because they say it’s a final offer does not make it a final offer.

3. So it was ‘ludicrous’ to stop doing S&S? Even after the Government reneged on its commitments under Haddington Road and refused to pay us? The ordinary members then gave the ASTI leadership an overwhelming mandate in a ballot to take industrial action up to and including strike action.

5. The blogger claims that narrow selfish interests should dictate that people vote yes. He exhorts members who are waiting for a CID, a promotion, an increment or who might be in danger of redeployment to vote yes. So we should just abandon our Lesser Paid Teachers and our principled stance in standing up to the ideologically driven agenda of Fine Gael? An agenda that is clearly neoliberal, in its attack on the right of a Trade Union to negotiate on behalf of its members, and its continuing efforts to commodify education.

6. Here he flippantly tells us to ‘move on’ from our legitimate concerns about the new Junior Cycle.

7. Here he claims that the new Junior Cycle will allow teachers to shape our practice, ourselves, like professionals. This is not true, Government & DES measures are deliberately eroding our professionalism by selectively choosing “experts” who berate us for engaging in direct teaching and telling us that now we are expected to be mere facilitators for each of our student’s individualized journey on the AfL Highway to student autonomy. Just look at what happened to education in Scotland since their Curriculum for Excellence (on which JCR is modeled) was introduced. It led to the bureaucratisation of the profession, leading to excessive workloads for teachers and an eventual government intervention to reduce this workload (after teachers voted by 91% to take industrial action). It must also be noted that Scotland plummeted in the latest PISA rankings for maths, reading and science.

9. No matter how you dress it up, Croke Park hours are unpaid labour, simple as.

12. This point either displays breathtaking ignorance or disingenuousness on the blogger’s behalf. The fact is that the LRA specifically stated that: “there will be no cost­ increasing claims for improvements in pay or conditions of employment by trade unions …during the period of the Agreement.” [4.2.1 LRA] The Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform then had to use FEMPI to over-ride this clause to grant the extra payment to LPTs in the TUI/INTO. It is frankly ridiculous to claim this was negotiated by the other teacher unions, it was a cynical maneuver by Fine Gael to further attack and undermine the ASTI.

15. It is an insult to our leadership to claim that the negotiations were marked by ineptitude. Just because a conservative leadership capitulated in the past and presided over the serious deterioration of our pay and conditions, it does not follow that a leadership that stands up for its members and fights for what their members have voted for is inept! We cannot capitulate to bullies who attempt to impose upon us terms and conditions we have rejected by threatening us and penalising us in a vindictive and vengeful manner.

16. So now we’re ‘masochists’!!! If we applied this blogger’s logic to our students who are being bullied, it might read like this: 1. We ask them to stand up to bullies. 2. If the bullying persists then it’s now the victim’s fault because they are masochistics. Incredible stuff!

These 20 points are just really an attack on the ASTI leadership when they are working assiduously on our behalf to represent the outcomes of our recent ballots as mandated by Convention. We are truly in a post-truth era where this blogger feels entitled to offer up alternative facts. I will be voting No, because I want to stand shoulder to shoulder with my LPT colleagues and because I don’t believe that the new Junior Cycle is educationally sound. The over arching architecture of the education system that consists of JCR, Cosán & School Autonomy is a nightmarish one one for teachers and students. At the very least the ASTI is standing up for our profession.

Séamus Keane

ASTI member, School Steward, Branch Secretary & CEC representative.


Gilles Deleuze

“An image of thought called philosophy has been formed historically and it effectively stops people from thinking…The exercise of thought thus conforms to the goals of the real State, to the dominant meanings and to the requirements of the established order.”