Minister for Education Mary Hanafin is to address the Teachers Union of Ireland's (TUI) annual congress in Wexford today - a day after delegates voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over discipline in the classroom.
Delegates at the TUI conference voted in favour of a one-day strike unless the issue of class room discipline is immediately addressed. Ms Hanafin was criticised by several speakers at the TUI conference yesterday including TUI President Tim O'Meara who accused the minister of closing her eyes and wishing the problem away. Mr O'Meara described the process as "a failed process". TUI general secretary Peter MacMenamin also claimed that most teachers did not benefit from benchmarking. It is expected that Ms Hanafin will be challenged on pledges made last year on the reduction of class sizes, on improved accesibility to education and increased resources made available to teachers. Ms Hanafin's address to the secondary teachers' union comes after she was heckled at the INTO annual conference in Kilkenny yesterday. The primary school teachers also voted for possible industrial action yesterday by supporting a motion which called on the INTO executive to take action over what delegates perceived to be "broken promises" on the issue of class sizes. INTO delegates were warned by Ms Hanafin during her address to the conference that any industrial action could see them in breach of the National Pay Agreement. The INTO conference concludes in Killarney today.