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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Irish Teachers Vote to Strike as Infection Rates Spiral

After a two week midterm break, Schools in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) reopened last week, despite secondary teachers voting for a strike action against harmful working conditions if COVID-19 safety measures are not implemented by October 30.

After a two week midterm break, Schools in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) reopened last week, despite teachers voting for a strike action against harmful working conditions if COVID-19 safety measures are not implemented by October 30. 

Some of the teachers, along with members of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI), voted to support action up to and including strike action in order to have the following work conditions:

  • Redefinition of “close contact” as being more than 15 minutes in a classroom with a positive COVID-19 case
  • A serial testing programme for schools
  • Guaranteed test turnaround times of 24 hours
  • Provision for high-risk teachers to teach from home or have “reasonable accommodations” in school
  • Free laptops in the event of students and teachers self-isolating or schools closing

Even though the majority of the teachers have voted to strike, ASTI President Ann Piggott went on TV with the opposite message. “I want to assure every parent in this country that second-level schools will definitely be open on Monday morning and the ASTI shall not stop them opening. If we do strike, it’s a very last resort, we have no intention of closing schools.” Piggott said in Newstalk Breakfast. 

The union is also working in close collaboration with the Irish government.

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