ASTI members: Rock the Vote

KidsAs far back as I can remember my Dad was a returning officer for local, national and European elections. Neither he nor my mother ever attempted to influence how we voted but by God! did they insist that we vote. In truth, they didn’t have to do much insisting, as they raised us to believe that it was important to make our voices heard.

Of course we were warned not to become ’empty vessels that make most noise!’ Rather, we must consider carefully the issues at hand and then vote in whatever way our conscience and personal beliefs dictated. But in their book, and now in mine, the stupidest thing we could do was disengage, abstain from voting and allow others to decide what our future should look like. If we voted, and our side lost, we were free to whinge, secure in the knowledge that we had done all we could do to make our voice heard. But if we failed to vote we lost all whinging rights: if we didn’t care enough to cast our ballot, we had no right to an opinion after the fact.

It is testament to their parenting that they now have five grown up children all of whom react with horror at the thought of someone having a vote and not using it. It’s also testament to the independence of spirit they instilled in each of us that despite having grown up in the same house to the same parents, we rarely agree on anything!

Two months ago now I wrote an Open Letter to Ruairi Quinn identifying what I felt were the real reasons teachers felt drained, demoralised and defeated. It feels like a lifetime ago. I listed exploding class sizes and diminishing subject choice for students; vicious cuts to teacher numbers; the decimation of posts of responsibility alongside the mass proliferation of new initiatives; the insulting & utterly pointless way the Croke Park hours were being implemented and the lack of clarity and support around the new Junior Cycle.

Some 24,483 people read my letter so I guess you could say it struck a chord. Was the Minister among them? Who knows!?! He certainly never replied, which to my mind is quite rude. If he were in my English class I’d have a thing or two to teach him about communication, the first rule being that if someone takes the time to write to you, you should bloody well write back!

All of the issues I identified – posts of responsibility, Croke Park hours, Junior Cycle reform – have been addressed in some small way in the revised Haddington Road Agreement. None have been resolved. The issue of compulsory increased substitution and supervision (thereby reducing even further the time that is available to us to devote to our students; to extra-curricular activities; to pastoral care, class prep, subject planning, literacy and numeracy and integration of IT) remains exactly as it was before, except that those who weren’t doing it can opt out but this time they’ve to pay for the privilege of not doing something they never did and the rest of us have no choice but to do it for free. The CEC – the Central Executive Council have recommended a NO vote and it’s plastered over all of the documentation we have received at school.

Yet I find myself utterly convinced that voting NO to the revised proposals would be profoundly foolish and potentially very dangerous, not just for the teaching profession but for the entire public sector. So why do I feel like that and what, fundamentally, has changed?

Well I guess the fact that no other public sector union has rejected the deal is significant, whether we like it or not. We are alone in a barren desert, with very little public support, like a lone dog howling at the moon.

If we go on strike, can we really expect other public sector unions to support us, when they have taken their medicine – or should I say beating – and we have not? Meanwhile, most in the private sector just find us utterly comical. Given the awful treatment many of them are subjected to on a daily basis (what do you mean you can’t work 12 hr days? Do you really need lunch? No, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask you to relocate to China for three months – your pregnant wife and two young kids will be fine!) it’s hardly surprising.

Second of all is the fact that this government have proven themselves more than capable of following through on their threats. They passed emergency legislation as promised (FEMPI) to deal with us when we stood up to them for reneging on the original Croke Park Deal. If we vote no again, they will  cut payment for S&S anyway in the new year – they have made this abundantly clear – in which case if we refuse to do S&S unpaid, schools will close. Maybe this is what some people want, but I can’t pretend I have any stomach for it.

Now they are threatening compulsory redundancies (more bully boy tactics) if we again vote no. I have no doubt they will again follow through. Although by rights so-called Labour Minister Ruairi Quinn should be against this on principle, I’ve heard him threaten it enough times by now to believe that he has to follow through on his threat if we vote no, or else he becomes the proverbial boy who cried wolf and loses all credibility. I also think he actually sees no contradiction between his Labour roots and the fact that he may very well become the first Minister in the history of the state to introduce compulsory redundancies in the Public Sector. Why this surprises me I don’t know; by now it seems that anyone with any real Labour principles has already quit the party, while those that remain are happy to embrace a Neo-Liberal agenda – or worse still, they don’t even fully grasp what that is! (Google ‘Pasi Sahlberg GERM’ for more on the negative impact of Neo-Liberal policies on education systems globally). 

Irrespective of whether we vote yes or no, pay cuts have been implemented and will not be reversed so now the question becomes, which deal is the lesser of two evils – FEMPI or Haddington Road #2

If we vote yes, of course there are bitter pills to swallow in the form of

  1. continuing the 33 Croke Park hours – albeit with better differentiation from Sept 2014 onwards;
  2. unpaid & increased S&S – but as I understand it, it is only 6 hours more annually (from 37 to 43 hours) than the previous agreement irrespective of how many teachers opt in or out.
  3. fewer hours being available for part-time and subbing teachers due to changes in S&S and sick leave arrangements for existing staff.

Possibly the most significant one, however, is that once we sign up, we’re in. We cannot change our minds down the road about any of the details contained herein  as the agreement states “Strikes or other industrial action by trade unions, employees or employers are precluded in respect of any matters covered by this Agreement”. Ah, the irony, from the Government who changed their mind unilaterally about the Croke Park Agreement and told the rest of us to just suck it up!

However, there are also some very significant sweeteners

  1. Teachers in an over-quota position can be nominated for redeployment (a scheme which I hate by the way!) rather than redundancy (which is way worse!). [This is presuming the government mean what they say and will attempt to introduce redundancies if we vote NO again. Who knows, their word is worth little more than nothing if you ask me, in the context of their abandonment of the Croke Part agreement, but they tend to keep their word when it means getting their own way – in this case, firing people as a pathetic show of their power].
  2. Teachers who have served 3 years will get their CIDs backdated to Sept 2013 and if we sign up, CID eligibility after 3 years (instead of 4) will become standard. This still sucks, it just sucks less for the 29% of secondary teachers in casual contract based employment.  The panel for fixed-term teachers also improves conditions for this very vulnerable group in our schools (I was one of them not too long ago & still bear the scars of the experience).
  3. The gap between pre and post 2011 entrants will shrink from 10% to 7%. If you ask me different pay scales for new entrants should never have been accepted in the first place (thereby institutionalising the notion of yellow pack workers), but it is a significant improvement in their pay scales (not to Labour the point but I still find it utterly divisive & ridiculous that different pay scales based on the year you began teaching were EVER accepted)
  4. Increments due will be paid.
  5. A limited alleviation of the moratorium on posts of responsibility will be implemented to the tune of 300 additional posts (although in most cases, this will have a very limited impact in alleviating difficulties, as B post holders will most likely just move into A post positions, still leaving a void that cannot be filled).

There’s also some expert group talks yadda yadda yadda that to be honest I don’t have much faith in – an expert group on the issue of casualisation (they’ve ignored the advice of these groups in the past); discussions on fair rostering of S&S and on the best use of Croke Park hours. Only time will tell whether these talks make any real difference. The issue of the new Junior Cycle, we are told, is a separate issue, but again ‘talks’ are now on the table so that our concerns are at least presented to those in power.

Part of the deal specifies that no additional hours other than S&S and Croke Park hours will be required. Quite frankly, this made me scoff. I require many many hours of myself above and beyond the regular school day. I always have  demanded more of myself than is sane or reasonable because I believe in giving my students the best possible education I can offer them. It’s only a pity the government don’t have the same dedication to our students’ education and future. So I find it both insulting and patronising to suggest that the only hours I do outside of my regular working week are S&S and Croke Park. This may be true of a minority but it is not true of me, nor of the vast majority of teachers I know.

Finally, I think there is a much bigger picture here that a lot of people are missing.

We are alone in resisting the Haddington Road Agreement. If the government decide to make an example of us, we can strike and our schools can close and they can stop paying us and more talks can happen but what exactly do we hope to gain? If those talks fail the government may dig their heels in on compulsory redundancies. It would be easier now during a recession for the government to get public support for ‘less money being spent on public sector wages’ and of course they would do an expert PR job of concealing the negative impact on vital public services. The education of future generations to my mind should be a national priority but to hear certain politicians who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing speak you’d swear education was little more than an inconvenience, an irritating and exorbitant ‘cost’ for the ‘tax-payer’ (also known as the parents of the kids in the education system).  If this happens, down the line you can expect nurses and guards and social workers and civil servants to face the very same treatment. The trickle could easily become a flood.

Because when  as a politician you place no value on experience and commitment and community and see individuals only as ‘costs’ (the Neo-Liberal agenda in a nutshell) the ‘clever’ thing to do is to fire all of the experienced people who actually demand a living wage and hire instead yellow-pack workers who have no mortgage and no family to feed and no responsibilities, but who also have little in the way of experience. And you inevitably damage the system irreparably. Yet ultimately you don’t care, because it’s cheaper (the race to the bottom drags everybody down) and because you can put a list in your election manifesto promising to ‘fix’ what’s broken without ever admitting that you are the person who broke it in the first place.

That’s the bigger picture.

The stupidest thing you or I as teachers can do now is disengage, abstain from voting and allow others to decide what our future will look like. Be under no illusions: we are choosing between FEMPI and Haddington Road, not Haddington Road and nostalgia for the era before Croke Park hours.

Don’t be bullied, but do make an informed choice.

For the record, I’m not one of the teachers at risk of redundancy, so this post is not about furthering my own personal agenda. I am near the bottom of the seniority list but our school has lost so many English teachers in the past 5 years that I am and will be needed indefinitely into the future in our school. But I also know that this is just a quirk of fate, not a reward for hard work and dedication, which makes me very aware that ‘but for the grace of God go I’.  

Teachers who are low down the seniority list and a long way from retirement have the most to lose if the government mean what they say and are not just bluffing. I’m reliably informed that there are few, if any, teachers in this position on the Central Executive Council – the people within the ASTI who are recommending a NO vote. Are we willing to play roulette with their futures? That’s what each of us needs to decide…

So Rock the Vote.

If we vote, and our side loses, whichever side we choose, we are free to whinge, secure in the knowledge that we did all we could do to make our voices heard. But if we fail to vote we lose all whinging rights: if we don’t care enough to cast our ballot, we have no right to an opinion after the fact.

22 responses to “ASTI members: Rock the Vote

  1. I agree re voting but I disagree on the way to vote! Apparently we are very close to a decent agreement – but we can’t give in now and accept substandard working conditions. Yes we are alone as a union but that’s because the changes to our working conditions proposed by Croke Park 2 and Haddington Rd are far more dramatic than those that were imposed on Gardai or nurses. We will be working in this career for the next 30 years! Are you really willing to give up the principle of being paid for the most horrible part of our job ie sub and sup??
    Re Redundancies – they can’t enforce redundancies – either you have a CID or permanant job or you don’t and are vulnerable anyway – the only people who are redeployed are people with CIDs or permanent so who can they make redundant??
    Don’t give in the media hype and naysayers who just don’t want anymore hassle. You say don’t be bullied but I feel like you’ve been bullied by the government into giving in.
    Voting ‘no’ does not guarantee a strike it just encourages further negotiation.
    We must stay strong!

  2. Elaine Dobbyn you are wrong about a recent agreement, a very senior member of our union yesterday told us in no uncertain terms that there is nothing else to bargain on, this is it, either Haddington road of FEMPI, and FEMPI is definitely a lot worse. Please vote yes and save those people who are in fear of losing their jobs.

  3. Culan O'Meara

    There is no reason to change your vote from last time as nothing of any substance has changed. As you say, we’ve had expert groups convene in the past and nothing came of them. I’ve more to lose in short term as I would get my CID and certainly would prefer not to be on a pay freeze for 3 years especially in a house with two ASTI members! However, as Elaine has said, we’re here for 30 more years and once the conditions are changed they’re not coming back.
    I’m more determined than ever to Vote NO after the escalating bully-boy tactics. As a country we’ve rolled over after every cut has come in so that Enda can get his pat on the head from Merkel. Just because we’re the last standing against that onslaught doesn’t make our case any less valid. Public opinion was never with us even in the good times so we need to accept that. We’ve seen the trade union movement in general come out in support of the ASTI ( so any redundancies would spark general union unrest. Also, it’s looking like Quinn is getting his own p45 from Labour in the New Year ( so keep the faith and hold out!

  4. Evelyn,
    I have the greatest respect for you as a teacher but I’m disappointed by your views. You have written about your doubts over the new Junior Cert. Particularly the areas of continous assessment and inservice once HR comes in the battle over the JC is over as under HR we must cooperate with change. Giving firm commitments on the JC would cost the government nothing.
    As for closing schools – that is the governments choice. Not mine.
    You would not be on strike in such a situation.
    You talk of the threat of FEMPI . By accepting HR you accept an act that is draconian and was passed while the IMF were here. It’s a bully boy act. I know we are all against bullying.
    You talk of redundancies but why don’t you ask a lawyer how difficult it would be to make a teacher redundant on the basis of trade union membership.
    As for being isolated, I don’t feel it. What has ICTU done for you ??
    Barry Hazel ASTI CEC

  5. I meant to add that any attempt at mandatory redundancies would have to be proceeded by voluntary offers. Pat King believes we would win a case against mandatory redundancies.
    It is not simply a case of HR vs FEMPI. It’s HR /FEMPI vs industrial action. They can not force you to do s and s , cooperate with the new JC without your willing consent. If you give in again where will this end ? Could you just answer that question Eveyln??

  6. Thanks for the comments, plenty of food for thought.

    It’s difficult to argue that teachers are getting a worse deal than nurses or guards when two of the three teaching unions have accepted the deal. I don’t think they should have but they did and their decision weakens our position enormously.

    I think your interpretation of CID / permanent is not nuanced enough Elaine – the reason they got rid of the term ‘permanent’ and replaced it with CID was so that they could make people redundant if their position was ‘no longer viable’ hence the title ‘Contract of Indefinite Duration’.

    Voting No does mean schools will close. If we refuse to do S&S, schools cannot open on health and safety grounds. The semantics of whether this constitutes a strike or not is beside the point. If a workplace closes due to an industrial dispute, even the dog on the street will call it a strike.

    Public opinion is not irrelevant. Politicians have proven themselves in the past to be very open to changing their minds when public opinion went against them – after all, they want to get re-elected next time. On the other hand, if they feel vast swathes of the population would support a move to teach those naughty ASTI rebels a lesson, they’ll sharpen the knives and go for it. Remember that lots of people who work for private industry believe that introducing the possibility of losing your job to the public sector would improve people’s productivity. I don’t believe this personally but I know lots of people who do.

    If Ruairi Quinn follows through on his threats and makes some teachers redundant, most likely in the long run those who were made redundant would win a court case on the basis that they were being discriminated against because of their membership of a union, which is illegal. How many years would this drag through the courts for and what are these people supposed to do in the meantime? If the union would give a guarantee to pay their wages in the event of compulsory redundancies, I think a lot of people wavering between a yes and no vote would decide to vote no, on the basis that if the worst came to pass the union wouldn’t leave them unemployed and penniless like sacrificial lambs.

    Everything I said about the negative impact of cuts on the education sector I stand by. But voting no will not reverse these cuts.

    However, it is fair to say that voting yes will damage their education further as teachers have even less time for extra-curricular activities; pastoral care, class prep, subject planning, literacy and numeracy and integration of IT and this does give me pause for thought. We need more time in our regular school day while our students are in the building with us for these things, not less.

    Basically, those of us leaning towards voting yes believe it’s a choice between FEMPI and HR and in this case HR is the lesser of two evils.

    Those who urge a NO vote believe it’s a choice between FEMPI/HR and escalating our industrial action to a point where the government are forced to negotiate with us yet again.

    I don’t presume to make anyone’s mind up for them but I do think this needs to be trashed out and debated and none of the literature from the ASTI engaged in this debate – they presented the facts and the NO side. Shame we don’t have a referendum commission style rule that both sides of the debate must be given equal time and space…

    Finally, Barry, it is just silly to suggest that you are ‘disappointed’ in me. To be disappointed in someone is to imply that they have somehow failed you, have let you down morally, have somehow revealed a weakness of character or judgement.

    In actual fact, you and I just examined the same set of facts and came to different conclusions. I am saying at this point I would prefer to choose compromise over confrontation. You are saying you choose confrontation over compromise because the compromise they are asking for is too great.

    Neither of us has a higher moral ground, we just disagree. Perhaps the only element of my blog post that’s unfair is the implication that members of CEC are urging a NO vote for selfish reasons, because the threat of redundancy will not effect them personally. This was unfair and unprofessional of me to suggest. I do not know what their motivations were, nor is it my place to judge or to speculate.

    Anyway, let’s hope people take the time to consider the debate from both sides, make an informed choice and vote. Apathy is a lot worse than educated disagreement if you ask me!

  7. Just on a point of information,the reduced scale for new entrants has never been accepted by the ASTI. It was imposed by the government long after Croke Park I. Accepting HR would be the first time we sign up up to accept the dual scale.

    • Think about the implications of what you’ve just written – the union never accepted the reduced pay scale but the government went ahead and implemented it anyway… says it all really about the absolute contempt in which the unions are held by the government.

  8. Evelyn, I too am changing to a YES vote as I see that we (ASTI) have isolated ourselves and remember very well the last time this happened (I teach in a two-union school, with a significant number non-union). Had the other unions backed us I would certainly vote NO, but I don’t believe that we can win anymore concessions on our own. My understanding is that many at the CEC meeting believe likewise and certainly those negotiating on our behalf are also reluctant to recommend a NO vote.
    When picking ones fights…one must be sure that they can win – and I’m afraid I don’t believe we can. My YES vote is no-way an endorsement of Haddington Road.

  9. My apologies Evelyn. I withdraw that comment about being disappointed in you, it was ill considered. I was disappointed you didn’t agree with me! Not you as a person.
    A few points:
    There would be a successful injunction against any redundancy. That was stated at CEC. You didn’t answer my question about where this will end. Do you really believe this is the end of bully boy deals?
    HR stops any industrial action on the JC. A working group? Does any teacher here believe that will really hear our concerns? The Minister was presented with a comprehensive document on our concerns several months ago. He waved it around at the ASTI convention. He could easily have moved on this issue pre vote. Once we sign on the dotted HR line- Treaty Of Limerick time. Hyperbole? Croke Park was broken.
    Burn the bond holders?

    As for being made an example? The Media are like a lover who will toy with you but never really love you. What exactly will Quinn do to us that he has not done already or threatened already?
    I end again by asking you Evelyn -a teacher and person I admire- where will this end? You are younger than me. Do you really think this is the end of bully boy deals? I estimate 5 years before this job becomes a wasteland. That gives me a decade or so until retirement. But for younger teachers it will be poorly resourced initiative after initiative unless they take us seriously.

    • Education has been poorly resourced in this country for decades. That’s not anything new.

      Where does this end?
      My fear is that we gain a Pyrrhic victory if we vote no. We may win the battle (don’t have to do S&S) but lose the war (they introduce redundancies, continue to require 4 yrs for CIDs etc…).

      I guess you have the same fears but a different interpretation.

      You feel that if we vote yes our pyrrhic victory is that we win the battle (to avoid redundancies & shorten CID requirement) but lose the war (in accepting poorly planned and pathetically under-resourced new Junior Cycle, increased and unpaid S&S which gives us even less time to spend on vital aspects of our job).

      It’s all a matter of perspective I guess, but for you, redundancies are a threat which will never become a reality. I’m not so sure. I’m in a school which is over-quota and I fear for the careers of my colleagues and friends. Am I allowing my fear to colour my decision? I don’t know. It depends how likely it is that this fear become a reality. You seem convinced it won’t or can’t but FEMPI was fairly unprecedented n’est pas?

  10. A pyrrich victory is something I never claimed. It would be a major victory. Otherwise this deal will be followed by other such deals .I have advised you to check with a professional. A labour lawyer which the ASTI did and which I did privately. The law is the law Evelyn. I can’t assure those who do not wish to follow a rational evidence based approach . Same thing applies to CIDs. You can’t discriminate on the basis of union membership.

    Can you imagine the political fall out for Quinn if he ordered the shut down of schools ?
    We teach kids to stand up to bullies not give in. I say it again we will have a UK system within five years unless we take a stand now. Better to take some pain now than be in terminal decline within five years. We teach kids to think long term. Don’t leave school early etc but if we take the HR option out of fear then Quinn and his successors will know they can make us do whatever they want.

  11. By the way I did have the reality of being made redundant. At the time i could have won à case against it but i choose not to. As stated previously an injunction would be put in place meaning teachers would be paid. Its very unlikely QUINN would use that as his opening move following a rejection. Such a move would be months away and he knows it’s an ultimate loser.

  12. Evelyn,you are basically saying that while you deplore what is being done to education and the educators, the wiser course of action is to vote yes. While I agree with a lot of what you say and while the wiser thing may indeed be to vote yes, I think it’s the cowards way out. A no vote is indeed dangerous ground but I think it is vital to do everything in our power to protest against and resist the destruction of pay and conditions and the dismantling of the education system which begins with the euphemistically termed “reform” of the junior cycle.I honestly could not live with myself if I helped to enable all that,therefore a no is the only option for me.
    I am well aware that we are on our own and that the public sector have no sympathy for us,,but quite frankly I don’t think we should be unduly shaken by that. It is up to each group in society to defend its own interests. Yes, we would have a stronger case if we weren’t alone,but that in itself is not a reason to capitulate..

    • No Kay, I never said I ‘deplore what is being done to education’. There is a lot that I support in the changes being made to the Junior Cycle. I don’t think we’re getting enough training and I have concerns around assessment but I don’t think terminal exams encourage students to see learning as a process. Exams are particularly unhelpful when it comes to creative writing.
      Labelling those who vote yes cowards is unfair. You are working off the assumption that I think all of the changes being implemented are bad. I don’t.

  13. What concerns do you have around assessment and have they been allayed ?

  14. I applaud you Evelyn in everything that you’ve said so articulately above.. your article makes sense. ASTI teachers and in particular part time teachers need to read it. We photocopied it (hope you don’t mind) and distributed in our staff room. While I agree we need to fight for our working conditions and the education of our students we also need to think of the bigger picture and HRA is the lesser of two evils. So how do we encourage other members to get out there and vote???

  15. Perhaps it’s unfair to label yes voters as cowards,Evelyn, but I reckon tough times call for tough words and that’s how I see it. Many of our predecessors fought hard to win those conditions for us and I am willing to defend them in whatever way I can.
    I also disagree about the new JC.I am appalled that they are foisting this enormous change on us at a time when morale and resources are at rock bottom.The sensible thing would be to defer the whole thing until it has been fully costed and the practitioners have been properly consulted.I don’t have a problem with exams,they are a tried and trusted means of acquiring and testing skills. Granted,no harm at all to open up and modernise,introduce some new methodologies and assessments,but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water! And, what’s the rush to have it up and running next year? The rush is money,Ruari and co don’t give a damn about education. So,I,for one deplore what’s being done to education and the educators.

  16. In the interests of balance, this was sent to me today. I haven’t changed my position but I do believe that all sides of this argument need to be examined before people vote.

    If you haven’t already voted, post your ballot Monday morning or it won’t be counted.

    Reasons to vote no to HR

    Threat of redundancy: This is a reason to vote no. No to Ministerial hot air. Firstly, Ruairi Quinn, a Former Minister for Labour (1980s,) should know its normal employer-employee practice to first offer a voluntary package. Secondly, even if he pushed for mandatory redundancies he would have to clear the legal hurdle of discriminating against a teacher because they were a member of a particular trade union. ASTI CEC members were told that the union would be confident of victory in such a case. We were also told, that any move at redundancy would result at an immediate court injunction against mandatory redundancy. Lastly, with a rising population we need more teachers not less.

    The Junior Cert: despite what certain ASTI leaders have indicated – it’s not separate from HR. A working group that will look into teacher concerns is about as reassuring as Labour’s way or Frankfurt’s way. Continuous assessment will be of great benefit to grind teachers ,grind schools and some Principals who will call to your classroom asking you to have a look again (for the sixth time) at young Johnny ‘My parents are really pushy’ Murphy’s project . Vote for this and you vote for the New JC- lock stock and six hours max training for it.

    Supervision and Substitution: I want an option to opt out and not be paid. Not an option to pay for not working. There are easier ways to make money than being sent into a group you don’t teach and who won’t innately respect your authority. Those days are gone and the Minster has done absolutely nothing on deteriorating school discipline but cut supports and pile on some useless initiatives. He doesn’t care about school discipline. It’s a case of “Never mind the reality/lack of resources feel the size of this policy ”

    The Minister threatens he won’t pay for it from January, So he will take it with your consent (YES victory) and increase your hours or he will take it without your consent(No victory) leaving you free to take Industrial action? The ASTI will issue a directive against doing free substitution. Then it will be the Minsters choice, not mine or yours to shut schools down. He who blinks first loses.

    FEMPI-This Act is supposedly about financial emergency but didn’t we just exit the Bailout? I know these bully boy deals will never end unless we make a stand now. Do you really believe this is the last deal where you will be told do this or we will throw another acronym Act at you? The Yes voter must know the direction this HR train is going-it’s the UK System of burning out teachers and trivialising Kid’s Education.(caring for animals Short JC course) You can see this as inevitable or you can stand your ground like you heroically do day after day in your classrooms and Vote NO. The Government broke Croke Park . We didn’t. Yes voters must trust the Government. I don’t. Vote No.

  17. Right, here’s my last comment on this story. I’ve voted and I voted YES! !! I’ve also just been reliably informed that the notion that the government will offer voluntary redundancies is at best wishful thinking and at worst a complete fiction. I’m closing comments on this now and remember, if you want to vote VOTE MONDAY!!! Last chance.

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