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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.
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
Delfin dispute escalates, English Language Teachers strike!
Full-day stoppage follows management’s refusal of collective bargaining.
Trade union Unite, which represents all teachers working in Delfin English School, will picket the school Delfin Dublin from 09.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs October 7th. The escalation of this dispute follows repeated attempts by Unite to engage with management in a bid to address workers’ concerns.
“Management has consistently refused to address teachers’ concerns or to negotiate with them collectively through the union of their choice, leaving workers with no option but to take industrial action said Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne, further stating that
“Our members have been trying to address a range of issues from low pay to unpaid breaks and what amount to temporary lay-offs over Christmas.
“The resolution of this dispute is in the hands of management: they just need to pick up the phone and talk to their workers through their union, Unite.
“This is the first strike action in a sector where precarious working conditions are the norm. Unless schools move to engage with workers collectively, it is unlikely that tomorrow’s action will be the last in the sector”, Mr Byrne warned.
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Updates to follow
On Monday morning a strike for dignity, respect and workplace democracy occurs. Please offer whatever support you feel appropriate during the work stoppage. If you have an afternoon class and can spare an hour to stand beside your fellow teacher then please do. If not, then find out about the work stoppage through the following information and share it with your fellow workers, family and friends. Only with our combined effort and support can we achieve our goals.
Good Luck and Solidarity!
ELT Unite Branch
Industrial action at prominent school set for Monday [September 23rd] in dispute over pay and conditions in a sector notorious for its precarious work practices
Delfin Language School based on Parnell Square, has refused to recognise and negotiate with representatives of Unite the Union, the union that represents the English Language teachers. Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne explained the reasons for the dispute between the workforce and management.
“The workers have been left with no alternative but to take industrial action as a result of the approach taken by management. They have totally failed to address the concerns of the workforce in relation to three main areas of contention: the need for pay to reflect the increased cost of living, the volume of unpaid work done by English Language Teachers on a daily basis, and the fact that teachers are left with no choice but to sign on for social welfare payments over the Christmas period.
“The workforce has attempted continuously to engage with management through Unite’s best offices. Unfortunately management has adopted an approach of refusing to recognise or negotiate with ourselves.
“From speaking to the workers, the overall feeling is one of regret that things have come to this point. The teachers want to do their jobs but working conditions in the sector are just unacceptable. Management’s consistent refusal to engage collectively with workers through their trade union, Unite, has left the workers with no option but to take action. The workers have decided to restrict their initial action to only a three hour stoppage – hopefully this will act as a catalyst for management to adopt a more conciliatory approach”, Mr Byrne said.
Link to original
Next Mon 23rd Sept will see the first Unite picket on a language school in Ireland. Delfin Teachers have been refused collective bargaining rights and are exercising their right to take strike action.Please RT and ask @Delfinschool to respect their teachers & recognise the union.— keith murdiff (@KeithMurdiff) September 20, 2019
People Before Profit – Full support for English Teacher in historic dispute
Socialist Party – Interview with Delfin English Language School striker
I’m an ex-union rep myself and come from a family of trade unionists, so . . .
I’ve been saying for years that the industry needs to be more collective and organised, so it’s lovely to be able to to help out in whatever small way I can.
Amazing work everyone’s doing.
Teacher, teacher trainer and author at LEXICAL LAB and National Geographic Learning