IMPACT creates new education division

Thursday 24th May 2012

Delegates at IMPACT’s biennial conference established a new education division last week. The creation of the new division, the first since the early 1990s, reflects significant growth in the union’s education membership, which now totals almost 9,000.

The union has seen huge membership growth among special needs assistants while school secretaries and staff in VECs, institutes of technology and school completion programme have also joined the union in significant numbers over the last five years.

These branches were previously part of the union’s Local Government, Education and Local Services division. Its cathoirleach Jerry King told conference that the new division had the potential to be the “second biggest player in education” after the largest teaching union, the INTO.

IMPACT deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan said the union was putting extra resources into the sector. The union is currently recruiting organisers to work in education. Two will be based in Dublin, with another two working out of the Sligo and Cork offices.

Callinan said the huge increase in IMPACT’s education membership had followed the establishment of national branches. “This, along with huge industrial and policy challenges facing IMPACT members in education, meant the time was right for an education division. This is a unique opportunity to organise workers in the education sector and it’s time for the union to assert its right to be acknowledged as a major union in the education sector,” he said.

IMPACT’s Special Needs Assistants branch, which is currently the largest in the union, is to separate into four regional branches within the new division.

Education branches with more than 100 members will each be represented on an interim divisional executive council (DEC) which will be in place until the executive committee is elected at the division’s first biennial conference next year. Those branches are the VEC branch, Institutes of Technology branch, School Completion Programme branch, School Secretaries’ branch and the four regional special needs assistants’ branches.

The other five IMPACT divisions are: civil service, health and welfare, local government and local services, municipal employees and services and enterprises.

More details of the new structures are contained in the document The case for an IMPACT education division.