A key leadership group of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland has voted to recommend rejection of the new public service pay agreement negotiated earlier this month.

The decision was made at a meeting of the 23-strong Standing Committee of the union today.

The Standing Committee vote, which was not unanimous, is viewed as significant but not decisive, as the final decision on whether to recommend acceptance or rejection of the pay agreement will ultimately be made by the 180-member Central Executive Council when in meets in early autumn.

Informed sources said it was now likely that the CEC will recommend rejection of the extension to the Lansdowne Road Agreement when it is put out to ballot in the autumn after the summer holidays.

Two other teaching unions, the Irish National Teachers Organisation and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland, have already recommended rejection because the deal fails to address the key issue of lower pay scales for public servants, including teachers recruited since 2012.

ASTI President Ed Byrne said that while certain proposals in the draft agreement would provide some benefits for teachers, unequal pay, a major issue for ASTI members, would not be eliminated.

He also noted that the draft agreement contains no commitment to reduce the so-called Croke Park unpaid hours, which teachers found unproductive and disruptive to their core work and duties.