Ireland’s secondary school teachers have voted to take industrial action if the Department of Education does not respond favourably to their demands for longer holidays.
The strikes are expected to commence in April of next year and teacher’s unions say they will continue indefinitely until the demands are met.
“Our members are committed to the ‘long-haul,” was the comment made by Joe Murphy, President of the Federation of Secondary School Teachers, when the results of the secret ballot on strike action were announced.
“For far too long now our teachers have been expected to work in horrendous conditions some times for up to six hours a day with only two hours off for a quick lunch.
“Most classrooms don’t even have adequate air-conditioning and it can get quite close in the few weeks of May leading up to the three-month summer holidays,” Murphy told the press.
“Ok,” he continued. “Yes, we get the three-months off during the summer and of course the two weeks at Christmas and another two at Easter and the few weeks for mid-term breaks.
“But, in fairness, that doesn’t make up for the few hours we spend having to put up with stupid teenagers and their carry on, does it?” he asked.
“Another thing,” Murphy told the assembled press. “This home-work lark has got to stop. My union members are ‘sick to the teeth’ of having to sit and correct homework.”
“We are demanding that this cruel and archaic practice be discontinued. It sets an inordinate amount of extra work for teachers.
“Imagine having to read twenty-five stupid ‘My Day at the Seaside” essays. It’s way too much,” said Murphy, who interrupted his rant to remind two reporters to take notes.
“I’ll be asking questions later,” he was sure to tell the Education correspondents from The Irish Times and RTÉ.
Parents to take more responsibility
“We in the union feel it is high time that parents took more responsibility for their offspring. And we feel that by allowing school children an extra month at home in May would encourage more ‘family togetherness’.
“It would also allow teachers to get on with their primary summer occupations of house painting, building extensions and silly online courses,” he said, before sending a member of the press to stand at the back of the room for whispering to her colleague.
“And another thing,” Murphy, who was now shouting, said. “These so-called gifts we get at Christmas and again at the end of the year need to be better.
“Ok, they are all well and good but our members are growing tired of the usual fifty-five boxes of chocolates and tons of either aftershave or perfume.
“We feel it would be more appropriate if we were given the cash value instead,” he informed the press, before shouting; “Have you got all that you clowns?” to those reporters still present.
Government to cave to demands
Meanwhile in Ireland’s Education Correspondent Sheila O’Riordan— who is still shaking from the Press Conference — understands that the Government will make the usual noises about not having the money.
Over time, though, as is always the case, the Government will give in to the teachers’ demands, because let’s face it; politicians get longer holidays!