Teachers in Ireland are to ballot their members in the face of threats to cut the pay and pensions bill by the government. The teachers, who are members of all three Irish teaching unions, INTO, ASTI and TUI, say they will take action up to and including strike action if the proposals are not withdrawn.

The General Secretary of the secondary teachers union, ASTI, told the Irish Times, “Teachers have already taken a 14 per cent reduction in pay and have delivered additional work and substantial savings under the Croke Park Agreement. Young teachers, many of whom find themselves in precarious employment situations, have had inferior terms and conditions imposed on them in a most inequitable manner."

The proposals - which include a freeze on increments and pay cuts for higher paid public servants - have been approved by the Public Sector Comittee of the Congress of Irish Trade Unions. This could see them being imposed on teachers.

The teachers say they have been negotiating in good faith but that their members absolutely would not accept another pay cut. The government say they have to cut €300 million from the pay and pensions bill. Like so many other governments in the face of the financial crisis, the Irish government is attempting to make public services make up the deficit.