Teachers staging lunchtime protest

TEACHERS in Westmeath and Longford are staging a protest this lunchtime, over what they say is the failure of their employer to adhere to and apply nationally agreed grievance procedures.
However, the employer, Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB), refuted this, saying it is committed to engaging through the national grievance procedure.
The protest was organised by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), which represents around 300 teachers employed by LWETB, two-thirds of who are in Westmeath and the remainder in Longford.
Teachers staged a protest outside eight schools and 12 education centres - including Athlone Community College - as part of plans to draw attention to teachers’ serious concerns.
In a ballot earlier this month, TUI members employed by LWETB voted overwhelmingly by 92 per cent to 8 per cent to take industrial action on the issue.
The lunchtime protest took place outside school and centres in which TUI members are employed by LWETB.
TUI Deputy General Secretary Annette Dolan addressed the LWETB this week: “This can be sorted. Please come back and consult.”
However, in a statement issued by the LWETB to the Westmeath Independent, Chief Executive Dr Christy Duffy said it was regrettable that the TUI had decided on industrial action “without clarifying what is the issue in dispute”.
The statement added: “LWETB is committed to engaging through the national grievance procedure. LWETB sought clarification of the issues which were raised over the summer, without success. LWETB was always ready and willing to meet on the issue once it was clarified.”
The TUI says as a next step in this industrial action, further lunchtime protests will be held on Wednesday, October 5 and Thursday, October 13.
They are stressing that regular school and centre business will not be disrupted by the actions. The protests do not involve picketing and do not constitute strike action.

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