Donegal schools closed as teachers strike

Teachers strike at Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana.
Teachers strike at Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana.

Eleven schools in Donegal undertook strike action on Thursday over a disputr about pay equality for newly-qualified teachers.

The move was confirmed on Wednesday after negotiations between the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland and the Department of Education failed to reach a resolution.

The dispute surrounds pay parity for newly-qualified teachers, who are earning less than their colleagues for the same work.

Yesterday was the first of seven planned strike days between now and December 7th.

The union has also voted to withdraw supervision and substitution duties from November 7th.

In Inishowen, Scoil Mhuire in Buncrana, whose teachers are part of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) and Carndonagh Community School, who are dual-union, closed as strike action took place across the country.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Scoil Mhuire teacher Michael Doherty said they had had hoped to avoid strike action but it centred around “equality.”

He said: “We hoped it wouldn’t come to this but when you come up against an immovable force it’s something you have to do.W

Mr Doherty said the issue was not just one of pay restoration but of pay equality.

He said: “In this day and age, equality shouldn’t even be an issue. It’s about the future - the future of the younger generation, such as the students we teach every day, who want to become teachers in the future.”

Inishowen’s Youth Reach Centres and Donegal Education and Training Board schools, which include Moville Community School, Crana College and Gaelcholaiste Inish Eoghain are not affected by the strike action as most of their teachers are members of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI).