2015 was when the College Closure Crisis was at its height. At this point, 11 ELT schools had closed in Dublin alone.
Two more schools were crumbling in April 2015. Linked by ownership, MEC and NCBA had issued IOUs instead of pay at the end of
Teachers stopped working and students protested in support. Students formed MEC Student Union and on Tuesday, 5th May 2015, they marched from the Oscar Wilde statue to the QQI headquarters on Denzille Lane, to the Garda National Immigration Bureau on the quays, and to the Dáil, winning national media attention for their demand that the Minister for Education #RegulateNow.
An organiser from Unite observed the march that day. Impressed, he joined us.
He helped us go on to build this Ireland-wide ELT branch and become a part of the Joint Labour Committee talks happening this year to finally regulate for better employment in our sector.
This was the day Unite united with us.
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Following two extensive branch meetings and further consultation with our members, we wish to convey the following.
The Unite ELT branch states that:
Schools must communicate clearly and immediately with teachers in writing about their employment situation and pay. Teachers must also be given weekly updates in writing on this matter. Teachers must not be forced to take their holidays to cover the closure period.
Teachers are under no obligation to teach online. However, if they choose to do so, all training, preparation and correction time for online teaching must be paid at the normal contracted rate.
All necessary equipment and support for teaching must be provided by the schools. Class duration and size must be reduced as appropriate for online teaching. Employees must continue to be paid at their average weekly wage, even if online teaching is not available or they are unable to do it.
Rent and mortgage payments must be waived for the duration of the crisis and there must be a guarantee of no evictions. There should be no accrued debt as a result of this waiver.
Employers must negotiate with the union immediately in order to achieve the best outcomes for workers, students, public health and their businesses.
We also wish to extend our deepest solidarity to all other branches and workers. Please get in touch if you require our help.
Unite has also called for the establishment of an Emergency Forum.
BRANCH MEETING Today
ELT Unite is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Branch Member Motions
Time: Mar 19, 2020 15:00 – 16:00 PM
Please check your spam filters for an email from the branch. We will be discussing a document included. In addition, please bring your proposals, known as motions, to the meeting for consideration and approval by the branch.
If you have any questions please get in touch.
March 16th: With regard to the COVID-19 situation, further updates have been issued through the Department of Employment & Social Protection to Trade Unions.
This information focuses on workers in lay-off situations and requiring and needing to deal with the Department.
Please read the information in full and follow the guidelines as set out.
Please also circulate this information to any colleagues, friends or family who you think may find themselves in these circumstances.
You can also access the Guide via this link.
Yours in solidarityBrendan Ogle – Senior Officer – Republic of Ireland – 16/03/20
Hello to all members and non-members. Our schools have been forced to close, take classes online or perhaps, in some circumstances, keep going on a skeleton basis. The issue is that we need to gather information and establish courses of action.
Our branch is volunteer run and is always looking for new members to help. We will be holding remote meetings for members so please click here to join if you wish to participate.
Further information on schools, Unite and Government responses can be found in here in the information section of the site.
From 6pm, 12 March 2020, all schools, colleges and childcare facilities will close. Pupils should take their books and learning materials home with them this evening. While children are at home, they should practice social distancing such as minimising social contact, avoiding meeting up and keeping physical space between them and other people.HSE
All members who have been laid off temporarily are advised to go to their local social welfare office and sign on immediately. If you need help with this please get in touch with us. If you have documentation from your employer please take that with you too, in order to ease the processing of your claim. You are not obliged to use your holiday leave, you should be paid either by the school or the state.
Citizens Information have further information if you follow this link.
Don’t forget that during all this it is important to look after fellow teachers and we never stop our ongoing campaigns.
If you are an English Language Teacher the please also take the time to complete our the following survey in advance of the Joint Labour Committee. Thank you in advance.
ELT Unite and its fellow branches fully support our brothers and sisters in the Teachers Union of Ireland in their strike action commencing today.
All of our members, especially those at Delfin and Ibat, are aware that the TUI stood shoulder to shoulder with us on many issues, especially on the picket lines. No system of inequality will survive the persistent and dedicated solidarity of those who teach.
Pay discrimination must never be accepted and we implore all who can join the picket to do so.
The following measures are required to end pay discrimination:
Elimination of the remaining differences in the early points of scale for ‘new entrant’ grades (Teacher, Assistant Lecturer, Youthreach Resource Person, BTEI Adult Educator, Adult Guidance Counsellor/Co-ordinator, Adult Literacy Organiser and Community Education FacilitatorTeacher, Assistant Lecturer etc)
Commencement on point 3 of scale in recognition of the six-year (primary degree and PME) unpaid training period
Pickets continue today at Delfin English School while members in IBAT have also voted to take industrial action and will be holding a series of one-hour stoppages with the potential for escalation if issues in dispute are not resolved.
Teachers at Delfin have been taking strike action from November 11th to November 15th and will continue to do so from December 2nd to December 6th. Teachers at IBAT have held and will be holding one-hour stoppages (morning and afternoon) during the week, today, and Friday, as well as on November 18th, 22nd, 25th and 29th.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne said:
“The international education sector, of which ELT is a large part, is booming, with the government projecting that the value of the sector will grow to over €2 billion by next year. Committed, experienced and highly-skilled teachers are central to that success, yet they are often low-paid and often employed on precarious contracts.
“Rather than talking collectively to teachers about their concerns through the union of their choice, school management often rely on a culture of intimidation to squeeze pay and conditions while maximising their profits.
“Based on the feedback from our members, Unite believes that unrest in the sector will continue to spread unless and until there is a negotiated collective agreement. We are hopeful that the Labour Court will recommend such an agreement in the near future”, Mr Byrne said.
Article 28 of the EU charter of fundamental rights states that workers and employers, or their respective organisations, have, in accordance with Community law and national laws and practices, the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements at the appropriate levels and, in cases of conflicts of interest, to take collective action to defend their interests, including strike action. Our own national legislation supports and encourages harmonious relations between workers and employers.
Since 2018 our members have tried to engage with Delfin with regard to their terms and conditions of employment and they have genuine concerns. They just want somebody to go in with a professional face on and be able to put forward their claims and what they feel is justifiable for their hours and their holidays.
Get paid for doing work they don’t get paid for at the moment. It’s as simple as that.
The sector is precarious. The students have certain guarantees if one of the schools or colleges goes bankrupt. Those students will transfer to to other schools. But there’s no certainty for our members in regard to their terms and conditions and what contracts they have. The company can employ people and let people go at short notice.
They are resolute.
Not one student has crossed the picket line.
We’re in a process with the labour court and hopefully the labour court will issue a recommendation to the minister on whether there should be an employment regulation order for the entire sector and that will be legally binding.Brendan Byrne – Unite Regional Industrial Officer