Updated: 02/04/18 : 14:32:01
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Teachers "will shut down schools" says INTO chief

President of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation John Boyle has said that teachers "will shut down schools" if there is no resolution to their pay dispute.

Teachers will make the call for pay equality at the INTO's Annual Congress which gets underway in Killarney today.

More than 800 representatives will attend the conference, which will also discuss industrial relations and education issues of concern to them.

They represent 35,000 primary teachers in the Republic of Ireland and 7,000 teachers in the North.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland today, he warned schools would be closed if progress was not made on the issue of pay.

Mr Boyle said: "Our patience is definitely running very, very thin in relation to seven or eight years of dastardly cuts to the young teachers and we have negotiated very hard over that time.

"Certainly at the beginning of the next school year, if we don't have pay equality negotiated by then, I believe that the members of the three unions will work closely together.

"We've never feared to negotiate; we never negotiate out of fear and it may take stringent action before the Government realises that we are truly serious about pay equality."

The INTO President says new primary teachers are not getting the pay they deserve.

Mr Boyle said: "Today's 150th INTO Congress is going to be focused on pay and particularly on equality issues within primary teaching.

"The first one being that primary teachers, who have qualified since 2010, have been treated very shabbily by successive governments and are three or four points behind on the salary scale, are not being paid equal pay for equal work.

"So that is going to be the dominant focus."

Today is the opening day of the three-day event and attendees will be addressed by the INTO President John Boyle this afternoon.

Topics likely to dominate the event include pay equality and restoration, industrial relations issues, funding of schools, workload and curriculum and special needs teaching.

The Education Minister will attend the conference tomorrow and the event will conclude on Wednesday afternoon.