Frustration for temporary staff

14th March 2003 at 00:00
I was outraged at your headline "Court case knocks probationer hopes" (TESS, February 28). How can a teacher standing up for her long overdue rights be described in such a negative way?

Anna McGuinness's case is not unusual. In every secondary school there are several members of staff who have been "bumped" for probationers. We should give our support to staff in this position. After all this year's probationers are next year's temporary staff.

Probationers receive 0.7 of a timetable, support and guidance guaranteed for a whole year. A good idea but something that was not available to the current generation of teachers.

It must be doubly frustrating for temporary staff to see probationers get all the advantages, then suffer at the placing of the probationers. Then when one stands up for her rights she is accused of knocking the hopes of probationers.

If you teach on temporary contracts for consecutive years there is clearly a job there. Why are these teachers not made permanent as it suggests in conditions of employment? Temporary teachers are holding our education system together by accepting contracts that vary from year to year, so surely we owe them some level of security.

A permanent part-time contract would at least allow income to be predicted from year to year. Right now temporary staff cannot get a mortgage or even book next year's holiday with any certainty. If we don't address this problem now, we will see the temporary teacher as a career and not a stop gap.

The unions appear to support the McGuinnness case but are doing nothing to advance the cause of those still trapped in temporary employment. When are they going to use the collective authority we give them to stand up for our rights?

M Hall

Logie Drive


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