The ASTI Fightback activist group has been established amidst a backdrop of growing frustration amongst teachers faced with growing attacks from the government. The ASTI has done nothing to stop the education cuts or the attacks on teaching jobs, wages and conditions.
Morale is at an all time low. Attendances at branch meeting is getting lower all the time as members are tired of raising issue after issue at branch meetings to no avail. Some members out of frustration talk of leaving the union. The Croke Park deal imposes drastic deterioration in working conditions for teachers with terrible consequences for students.
A group of us decided to set up the activist group ASTI “Fightback” to do something about the situation, to try to reclaim the union and transform it into an organisation that stands up for the members rights.
We met every week in the run up to our convention with the aim of launching the group at convention. We also decided to point out that most of the motions that were being voted on at convention were contained within the Croke Park ‘deal’ which the union leadership constantly failed to point out.
Thirty five attended the first meeting of the ASTI Fightback and the group has grown steadily since convention. Since then a Google group has been set up so members of ASTI Fighback can share emails and info easier enabling us to become much organised. There is also a Facebook page ASTI Fightback and friends are growing every day. We also intend to hold meetings very regularly with activists and larger meetings on issues affecting teachers and the wider issues.
For example it is our intention to hold a series of meetings on the new FAS work placement scheme and the new entry level pay for teachers in June for all teachers across all unions and decide what action can be taken to challenge such measures.
We have also joined with other trade unionists to establish a national activist network with the hope of linking action with other activist groups within unions across all public and private sector unions.