Cllr Ryan with ASTI group

Cllr. Eilis Ryan (2nd from right) supporting ASTI members

The Workers’ Party has said that this mornings’ lockout of teachers across the country marks the beginning of the end of the Landsdowne Road Agreement. The statement comes as tens of thousands of teachers arrived to work this morning to find gates locked.

Workers’ Party councillor in Dublin, Éilis Ryan, said: “There is a growing expectation across all areas of employment that people will work for free. This is intolerable – and it is exactly what the government is demanding of teachers, by refusing to pay them for supervision and substitution work.”

“Without supervision and substitution, our schools have been forced to close. How could something which is so critical to our students’ wellbeing not be considered work – work which deserves payment?”

Councillor Ryan said there was no doubt but that the blame for the escalation of school closures lies firmly at the feet of the government, arguing: “Whether in 1913, or in 2016, when employees turn up to work but are turned away without pay – this is an illegal attempt to break a trade union’s right to bargain – a lockout. The blame lies firmly with our government. It’s clear that Fine Gael’s real objective is to force through permanent austerity and permanent low wages. The teachers’ fight back is in the interests of all workers.”

Cllr. Éilis Ryan (WP)

Cllr. Éilis Ryan

The Workers’ Party councillor concluded: “Workers should never have paid for the economic crisis – one we never caused. We certainly shouldn’t still be paying for it now. But with a right-wing government in power it’s clear that workers will have to fight to get what they deserve. “Landsdowne Road is dead. It’s time for the trade unions to call the government back to the negotiating table.”