Union will be making submission to mediator
Government decision reflects power of collective action
January 14th: Trade union Unite, which organises English Language Teachers, today (Monday) welcomed the decision by Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor to appoint former ASTI General Secretary Patrick King to work with stakeholders in the English Language Teaching sector to explore employment issues. Specifically, Mr King has been asked to assess the scope for a set of minimum employment standards which could form the basis of a Registered Employment Agreement covering the sector.
Commenting, Unite Senior Regional Organiser Davy Kettyles said:
“Unite has already had a positive engagement with Mr King during which we outlined our concerns, and we will be making a submission to him. Unite has long highlighted labour abuses in the sector, and met with Minister Mitchell O’Connor in 2017 to press for action. Since then the situation has, if anything, worsened and last year again saw the snap closures of colleges – including Grafton College, which was ACELS/QQI-approved and a member of the industry body Marketing English in Ireland – leaving both teachers and students high and dry. Precarious employment continues to be the rule rather than the exception in the sector.
“The appointment of Patrick King as mediator is a very welcome recognition of the difficulties faced by teachers in this sector, and Unite looks forward to continuing to engage with Mr King and with other stakeholders under his auspices.
“If employers are serious about developing a vibrant English Language Teaching sector which is characterised not only by high-quality learning but by high-quality employment standards, they should likewise engage positively with this process.
“The Minister’s decision to appoint a mediator and move on employment conditions in the sector reflects the power of collective action, and is the culmination of two years’ hard work by English Language Teachers working together through their union, Unite. Now we look forward to continuing engaging with Patrick King and the Department to develop minimum employment standards for teachers – standards which reflect the work they do and their contribution to the ELT sector in Ireland”, Mr Kettyles concluded.