Voice For Teachers was delighted to see that the INTO’s annual Congress at Easter re-affirmed the union’s position of opposition to the use of JobBridge in primary schools, and voted to maintain the union’s directive against participation in JobBridge.
The first motion presented at the union’s Congress, proposed by the Cahir branch, included a call on the CEC to
(i) reject JobBridge as a means to employment in the Primary School system;
(ii) outline the exploitative aspects of JobBridge as it pertains in primary schools;
(iii) highlight JobBridge as a devaluation of the role of teachers;”
“…. ensure that the directive issued on JobBridge is maintained and all infractions of the directive are dealt with efficiently, without delay and in full accordance with the rules of the organisation”
INTO members have taken the lead in recognising JobBridge as an exploitative scheme, and the INTO remains the only public sector union to have taken a position of outright opposition to the use of JobBridge. A directive instructing members not to participate in JobBridge is in place since December 2011, and has been re-affirmed at annual Congress every year since.
The directive has enjoyed overwhelming support among union members, and only a mere 0.9% of schools have advertised teaching positions via JobBridge in the current school year. We are aware that a number of complaints have been lodged via the union’s disciplinary process against the small number of principals who have advertised or filled JobBridge positions.
In another significant decision at this year’s Congress, delegates voted to instruct the union’s leadership to publish details of penalties imposed by the CEC on members for breaches of the directive in the union’s magazine and on the website, while allowing for the anonymity of such members. It is hoped that such publication will act as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to breach the directive.
The existence of this directive and the manner in which INTO members have taken a principled stand against exploitation is a credit to them as trade unionists. It is unfortunate that the union leadership has interpreted the directive as only applying to teaching positions, and that a significant number of school principals and INTO members are participating in the exploitation of other workers through filling roles such as secretaries, caretakers, classroom assistants and others via JobBridge.
We note that there were motions proposed for Congress by a number of branches and districts calling for the directive to apply to all positions in primary schools. Unfortunately these motions did not make it on to the order paper for debate. Hopefully, they will be returned to next year and in the meantime members at local level might take up the issue.
What are your views on the effectiveness of the INTO directive? What can be done to maintain and strengthen it? How can the leadership’s interpretation that the directive only applies to teaching positions be challenged or overturned?
What is the position at second-level? Have the ASTI or TUI taken a position on JobBridge? Are there many JobBridge interns in second-level schools?
And does anyone know what’s happening at third-level? The recent annual conference of the Irish Federation of University Teachers passed motions supporting precarious workers, which is obviously very welcome. But there doesn’t appear to have been any mention of JobBridge.