80% of secondary teachers in the Irish teachers' union ASTI have voted for a series of strikes in solidarity with their newly qualified colleagues. According to the terms of the latest government agreement with the other two teaching unions, TUI and INTO, new teachers will be paid 20% less than a teacher who was starting in 2010. Moreover they face years on short term contracts. 

ASTI President, Ed Byrne said: 'Today’s ballot result demonstrates the sense of injustice amongst teachers at this treatment of new and recently qualified colleagues. It shows that teachers at all stages of their careers are prepared to act in a collegiate spirit and stand up for the most vulnerable teachers in their schools.'

Teachers are also taking action over deteriorating conditions of service, which have seen them taking on more unpaid extra duties. As part of their action they will withdraw from supervision and substitution duties.

Teachers and schools in Ireland have suffered years of cuts in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Now the government says that the economy is on course again, yet it is still cutting schools budgets. In the case of mega-coproration Apple, however, it is more generous. It is contesting a ruling from the European Union that Apple must pay the country 13 billion Euros in unpaid taxes (thanks a to a sweetheart deal with the government the corporation has only paid between 0.5 and 1%). The priorities of the government and the injustice of the situation could not be more glaring.

The first one day strike is due on October 27th. Meanwhile the government apparently has a wild and impractical scheme to break the strike by hiring parents on a day rate to supervise children. ASTI members deserve international solidarity for their principled stand in defence of young colleagues and against the skewed prioroties of their government.