Local teachers stage lunchtime protest

Secondary school teachers across Westmeath and Longford staged a protest on Tuesday this week (September 27 ) to highlight their concerns over what they say is the failure of their employer to adhere to agreed grievance procedures.

The lunchtime protests were held outside schools and education centres, including Athlone Community College, which come under the management of Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB ).

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI ) said its approximately 300 members employed by LWETB had "serious concerns" over the alleged failure of the body to apply the nationally agreed procedures.

In a ballot earlier this month, TUI members voted overwhelmingly by 92 per cent to 8 per cent to take industrial action on the issue. Further lunchtime protests will be held on Wednesday, October 5 and Thursday, October 13.

However the LWETB refuted the accusation, saying it is committed to engaging with the national grievance procedures and has always been willing to meet with the TUI on the issue.

Speaking about the protests, TUI deputy general secretary Annette Dolan said: “Agreed grievance procedures were developed at a national level following engagement between Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI ) and the trade unions representing staff in schools and centres in ETBs around the country. The procedures are hugely valuable in providing a comprehensive roadmap for the resolution of grievances in the workplace in the interests of the avoidance of conflict.

"The failure of LWETB as employer to apply and adhere to the nationally agreed grievance procedures that are fully respected elsewhere is a critically serious matter with significant adverse implications for TUI members employed by LWETB.

"Should the issue not be resolved in the near future, TUI will review the situation and examine other options open to it in terms of its strong mandate for industrial action.

"In the interim, we urge LWETB to immediately apply and adhere to these procedures."

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