Friday, March 13, 2009

INTO must convince public that strike is in defence of Education, not merely about Pension Levy

Today's INTO announcement of a one-day strike planned for March 30th is an unsurprising development because of the depth of feeling aroused by the recent education cuts and the pension levy.

However it is essential, in this era of exploding unemployment, that the INTO convince the Irish people that this strike is not merely about the unfairness of the pension levy, but rather about the future of education at primary level and against the cuts that will act as a life sentence for so many children.

Pain is to be felt across the board, and it is true that many teachers have job security incomparable in the private sector. It is imperative that the INTO leadership focus on the hurt caused to children by cuts in book grants, increase in class sizes, cuts in traveller grants, disadvantage grants, special education and the postponement of the EPSEN Act .

As so many workers are struggling to keep their families together, this cannot descend into a public-private sector spat. If this strike action is in relation to cuts in education across the board then it will be supported, If the focus is purely on the pension levy, then the INTO risk arousing little public sympathy for their efforts.