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Teachers threaten strike action over COVID vaccines

Members of the three main teachers’ unions have voted for an emergency motion on industrial action if they are not prioritised for COVID vaccines. 

The ASTI, INTO and TUI passed a joint motion at their respective Easter congresses this morning, condemning the recent changes to the priority listing for teachers. 

All three conferences demanded that the government reverse its new rollout plan, and that education staff be regarded as a priority group.

They voted that if their demands are not met by the summer, their leadership teams will ballot members for industrial action, up to and including strike action.

ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie said that second-level teachers spend their day in classes of up to 30 students, often in poorly ventilated buildings.

“They mix with approximately 250 young people each day. Social distancing is challenging at best,” said Mr Christie.

“It is simply not acceptable for the Government to tell teachers that they are valued ‘essential workers’ and then expect them to stand in line with those who have remote facilities available to them.

“In the context of a national strategy to keep schools open, it is only logical that school staff would be included as a priority group after the vulnerable have been vaccinated. The joint motion passed by the teacher unions this morning provides a strong platform to pursue this objective.”

Michael Malone
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