Updated: 17/10/16 : 12:03:13
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“Very difficult” to keep schools open next month says Bruton

Fresh talks aimed at resolving the teachers dispute between the ASTI and the Department of Education will get underway this week.

The union, which represents 18,000 secondary school teachers, is set to hold seven days of strike action over the next three months, starting on Thursday, October 27 and which will see hundreds of schools close around the country.

Teachers will also withdraw from supervision and substitution duties from November 7.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton has said it will be “very difficult” to keep schools open next month when the ASTI's 18,000 members stop taking part in supervision and substitution duties.

In a statement, he stated he will dock teachers pay if schools are unable to open because of the union’s refusal to exempt principals from the substitution and supervision action.

The ASTI has strongly rejected any need to close schools or to dock pay when its members stop taking part in substitution and supervision in November describing the Minister's statement as “a very serious escalation”.

The union had accepted they would be docked pay during the seven days of all-out strike —but not once they stopped performing substitution and supervision duties.

The ASTI's Ed Byrne (pictured) said these extra duties were not part of the deal.

"The idea was that we do (supervision and substitution) free of charge for three years…It was a very poor deal for teachers," he said.

"(The refusal to pay teachers withdrawing those services) makes no sense."