The President of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) visited Donegal today.
Brendan O’Sullivan met members at the Mill Park Hotel in Donegal Town at 3.30pm urging a ‘yes’ vote in this week’s ballot.
Teachers are voting on whether the union should take industrial action if the government imposes further pay cuts or changes to working conditions without their consent.
Members of INTO have already voted 70% in favour of rejecting the Labour Relations Commissions recommendations.
Mr O’Sullivan told the meeting that teachers have so far taken two pay cuts of 7%, been hit with the universal social charge and agreed to work longer hours.
After the meeting, he told the Donegal Democrat: “The INTO has always backed public pay agreements, until now. We’re not mad people looking for a fight but our members’ backs are against the wall.
“This is about fairness. There are young teachers and other civil servants who have had salary cuts of 14%, plus been hit with the 1% universal social charge, and been asked to work longer hours.
“We’ve done all that, despite many of our members struggling with mortgages that were taken out at the height of the property boom.
“Now, the government is looking for us to take further cuts in salary while many people in this country on higher incomes have not been hit at all.”
INTO members are voting at specially convened branch meetings this week. Ballyshannon/North Leitrim branch and Donegal South West branch cast their votes on Monday. Today members of the Donegal, Letterkenny, Aileach and Carndonagh/Moville branches voted. On Thursday, the final votes in the county will be cast by members of the Stranorlar, Raphoe/Convoy, Donegal North West, Rosguil/Doe, Errigal and Rosses Branch.
The result will be announced on Friday.