The INTO-led Pay Equality Rally on the 7th March was a failure.
This is not the fault of the dedicated members of the three teacher unions that turned up for 4pm, many having to rush from their jobs.
This is not the fault of the regular employees in Head Office that keep the union running on a day-to-day basis.
The blame lies completely with the INTO leadership. Here’s the rundown of what happened.
Teachers scrambled to turn up on time to a 4pm rally outside Dáil Éireann in Dublin city centre. Out of the small numbers that did manage to make it in, some donned flags, orange hi-vis vests and yellow t-shirts. Just after 4 o’clock, the INTO president addressed the small crowd, followed by his TUI and ASTI counterparts. This all lasted for 25 minutes.
Then it was over.
No teacher affected by the lower pay scale was invited to address the crowd. The only speakers were the union presidents. At 4:25pm, the ordinary teachers who had turned up for what they hoped would be an inspiring rally were left wondering if that was it, feeling disappointed and ultimately they left Kildare Street feeling let down.
Ordinary members cannot be blamed for wondering if their union leadership is out of touch with regular teachers. A good rally would have been filled with the voices of the membership, led by a president passionate about the cause. Unfortunately the presidents of the INTO, TUI and ASTI failed to include the regular union members in what could potentially have been an amazing, inclusive experience. Instead, the presidents got their own soundbites and that was it.
As rallies go, this was the worst I’ve ever attended. Do better next time, please.