“Government and media fear genuine trade unionism in the public sector” says Bríd Smith.
The onslaught of media attacks on the ASTI is being driven by a “fear of real trade unionism taking hold in the public sector” according to a group of TDs who today called for support for the ASTI campaign for equal pay for equal work.
The propaganda reached new extremes in this weekend’s Sunday Business Post where the ASTI was presented as a dysfunctional, outdated organisation run by inexperienced people.
But, Bríd Smith countered this claim stating that: “The reality is that the ASTI is one of the most democratic unions in the public sector. There are 180 members on its Central Executive Council which allows for much greater participation by its members in decision making”.
Recent changes have seen a teacher, rather than an official, become the General Secretary of the union and a new school-based balloting procedure has led to much greater turnouts in ballots. The union is acting on motions passed at its annual conference.
“Far from the outrageous claims in the media and backed by the Government’s PR machine, the ASTI is inspiring members in other unions such as the INTO to reclaim the union for members” according to Smith.
The Dublin South Central TD stated that her colleagues in the AAA/PBP alliance would continue to defend the ASTI both in the Dáil and outside and stood 100% behind the union’s demands for equal pay for equal work.
“The ASTI must be commended and supported fully in the stance they are taking. They are demonstrating that workers can organise and start to fight back” said Deputy Smith.