Secondary teachers' leaders in Ireland are holding fast to their recommendation to members to reject an agreement which would see education cut still further. The so-called Haddington Road Agreement was condemned in September by their union ASTI in the following words: “Teachers’ message today is that they have given enough. All second-level teachers are delivering more with far less resources at a time when their pay has been cut significantly and their working conditions have greatly disimproved. The Haddington Road Agreement (HRA) is a step too far. Second-level schools are at the tipping point, having been stripped of key supports and personnel. Young people’s education has been diminished and their futures compromised. Haddington Road means taking more from education and from teachers." 

The HRA expects teachers to work longer hours while having their pay cut, a typical 'solution' from governments, which like Ireland's are facing the extreme results of the 2008 financial crash. Teachers would also be required to co-operate with all curriculum changes and other changes to working practices necessitated by 'reform initiatives' and teachers' rights to take industrial action would be curtailed.

Now the government has issued a list of schools which would have to make redundancies if ASTI do not accept the deal. At present permanently employed teachers are protected from redundancy. However the government has said that this protection would cease to apply to ASTI menbers if they continue their opposition. In a statement on their website, ASTI says that they 'will take strong action if any member is identified for redundancy.'

For several weeks, ASTI members have been working to rule in protest at the plans. ASTI members are voting on the HRA this week and their leaders continue to urge them to vote no, despite the government's bullying tactics.