Irish Teachers join Public Sector in Massive Strike
Teachers on a Picket Line in Dublin on Tuesday
Thousands of teachers joined other public sector workers in Ireland, closing schools all over the country
Over 5000 teachers marched on the Department of Education in Dublin and there were other demonstrations throughout the country. There were pickets outside hundreds of closed schools and university departments. All three teachers' unions - ASTI, INTO and TUI took part in the strike. ASTI said that the vast majority of its members had been on the picket lines. John White, General Secretary of ASTI said: “ASTI members would prefer if they were teaching their classes but the solidarity of the support for the strike sends a message to the Government there is a fairer, better way than scapegoating teachers and public sector workers.”
Protestors felt that the public services were being scapegoated by the government for an economic crisis which was not of their making. More than that they were being asked to pay for the crisis through reduced salaries and decimated pensions. Meanwhile children's education would suffer as class sizes grew and conditions for learning deteriorated. They called on the government to use redsistributive taxation policies to tackle the crisis.
Local government workers and health workers also took strike action - one estimate put the numbers on strike at 250,000. Another strike is planned for December 3rd if no progress is made in talks with the government. www.teachersolidarity is sure that this kind of unity of action - not only between different public sector groups but between different teacher unions is going to become more and more necessary all over the world as ordinary people and the services they depend on are increasingly made to pay for the financial and economic crisis. It is interesting that teachers in Ireland reported that many parents had expressed solidarity and understanding for their action.