irish.jpgPart of last week's demonstration in Ireland Irish teaching unions TUI, ATI and INTO took part in a mass demonstration in Dublin last week organised by the Irish Congress of Trade UnionsPolice estimate that 120,000 people took part in the demonstration which was against the attacks on workers and particularly public services as a result of the economic crisis in Ireland. Teachers joined local government workers, health workers and even some soldiers and police on the demonstration.The main teacher' unions in Ireland are balloting their 60,000 members for strike action. Peter Mac Melamin, General Secretary of TUI is urging his members to vote yes. The education service has been subject to massive cuts in the last period. On the union website, MacMelanin spells this out: 'October’s budget saw the most savage attack on our education system in living memory. Specifically, these cuts will ultimately result in 1,000 job losses at second level and the loss of essential provisions for the most disadvantaged students, such as book grants and alternative Leaving Certificate programmes.'The strike action has been called to oppose the government's imposition of a pension levy on public service workers. This will effectively mean a pay cut of 5 - 6% for teachers. John Carr, General Secretary of INTO has also urged members to vote yes, telling them that the government has 'focused exclusively on public finances and no contribution from the wealthy has been sought.' Teachers' unions are urging the ICTU to co-ordinate action. The ballot result will be announced on Thursday.