When we first started ELT Advocacy Ireland, we learned as much as we could about ELT labour history… and we only learned about one strike in Dublin -and it was in the 1980s. Since then, despite all the trouble of the College Closure Crisis from 2014-15, there had never been a picket on an English Language Teaching organisation.
23 September 2019 marked a change. That Monday, after months of attempts to talk with management formally and informally, after simple demonstrations of solidarity, and after letters and pre-notified one-hour stoppages the Delfin teachers did the most serious thing workers can do to support each other. They notified their colleagues and owner that they were going on a work stoppage to picket their own workplace to get what they need to make their work there safe and worthwhile again. Their demands as we saw in our last post remain: 1. formal recognition of their union 2. fair increase in pay in line with cost of living 3. an end to unpaid work and the dole at Christmas.
If you ever go on strike, we hope it’s with a crew that support each other like Delfin’s team do.
Below is a comment we publish with permission from the writer, Trevor Coonan, a Delfin Teacher.
‘Excuse the haphazard selfie (below). It was another brilliant, energizing morning on our picket.
This picket is about union recognition (recommended in the [Patrick] King report), an end to unpaid work (8 hour day means 6 hours pay), unpaid prep time, a living wage, and essentially for the employers in this industry to grow up and stop acting like tefl teaching is just a summer thing, or what we do before my book is finished/ Hollywood comes calling/ I get a real job.
This job we do is a real job.
We create and foster value and help new members of our society to find their voice, feet and way.
There’s a lot of profit to be made and well-treated workers will put more bums on seats, increase the profits and make Ireland THE place to come for English and a great quality of life.
No one really says it, but I for one am sometimes apprehensive. It’s a daunting task.
We need your support.
Teachers, join a union. Mobilise. Fight for what you deserve. If we all stand together, who knows?
If you need better pay, conditions and maybe a bit of dignity, join us. Please. Dont wait for someone else.
Contact Unite and get in.’
These teachers are doing historic work. They are making teaching English in Ireland a safer, more democratic, more inclusive profession. They are The Best Thing Happening In ELT In Ireland Today.
Here’s the thing: we have just learned that the next day of strike action has been announced. It’s another first: Full Day Strike. Get this message out and make an impact on the internet, but make sure you make some noticeable difference to these teachers: Post solidarity selfies; Talk about it in your staff room and school; Send donuts (Well done, JS & crew); Send a letter of support to Unite this today/tomorrow; Show up on…
Monday 7 October 2019 // 8am-6pm // Delfin Language School // 2 Parnell Sq East
Make a plan to be there for lunch too. Bring your bike or borrow one to beat traffic or sign up for DublinBikes just for this event. It matters. Let’s win this with them for all of us.
‘Picnic on the Picket!’ – committee member from the ELT Branch of Unite
Let’s #SupportDelfinTeachers in real ways. Join your union and be there on Monday.
[*Please note: There was a picket on MEC on Harcourt Street by MEC and NCBA staff on 16 April 2015 as a result of owner Tauseef Sarwar’s non-payment of wages. https://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0416/694544-colleges-international-students/
This led to student self organisation by Mexican and Brazilian students. MEC Student Union was formed when students learned that their tuition was not being used to pay salaries. The schools were the 14th and 15th schools to close overnight leaving students and teachers stranded.
MEC Student Union and ELT Advocacy Ireland organisers combined their efforts to organise the REGULATE NOW March which took place on 5 May 2015 finally pressuring government (Labour Ed. Min. Jan O’Sullivan) into action.
Thank you to DMcC for the reminder.]