Secondary school teachers have voted not to resume their campaign of industrial action over low pay for new entrants, which resulted in school closures a year ago.

The decision was taken at a meeting in Athlone of the 180 strong Central Executive Council of the Association of Secondary Teachers Union (ASTI). 

Last year, the ASTI, which represents 18,000 second-level teachers, mounted a number of stoppages resulting in school closures over lower pay for new entrants and opposition to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.  

However, the industrial action was suspended last June pending a ballot on the new Public Service Stability Agreement providing for restoration of some austerity cuts.

The ASTI has since rejected that new agreement by a margin of 51% to 49%.

Today's meeting was scheduled to decide whether or not to resume industrial action in light of that outcome.

However, it's understood that delegates decided against it. 

All three teacher unions representing around 70,000 public servants have rejected the new pay agreement

They are currently engaged in a process with to discuss the problem of lower pay for more recent recruits, but it's unclear when that process might deliver pay improvements for those affected by the two-tier pay scales.

Speaking after the meeting in Athlone, ASTI President Ger Curtin said members would not be resuming their industrial action which led to disruption in schools a year ago.

He said that members felt that to progress the plight of lesser paid teachers and unequal pay scales and to facilitate a talks process with the other two teacher unions, they needed to keep their suspension of industrial action in place. 

Mr Curtin said unequal pay was already having a significant negative impact on teaching and second level education services, adding that teachers, particularly younger ones, were leaving the professions or choosing to work abroad in more stable and better paid careers.

He also noted that schools were facing difficulties in recruiting staff across a wide range of subjects and that the only way to end this was to provide a dignified route of entry to teaching by ending unequal pay and allowing young teachers to earn a decent living.