Young teachers warn unequal pay driving them out of Ireland

Update 8.55pm: The Education Minister has refused to say if he thinks there will ever be Equal Pay for Equal Work.

It has become a mantra for all three teachers’ unions, who are holding their annual conferences this week.

Teachers who qualified after 2010 earn around €8000 euro less than their more senior colleagues.

Minister Richard Bruton says they have taken steps to restore 75% of newer entrants pay, but wouldn’t say if it would ever reach 100%.

"I can understand a claim for equality in the abstract but for me I have to recognise that being fair and equal has to also look at children with special needs who have requirements.

"The extra 15,000 children who are coming into the system.

"I have to balance those and you have to make sure that you treat everyone fairly," he said.

Earlier: Younger and newer teachers are warning that unequal pay is driving them out of the country, and the profession.

Teachers’ unions are holding their annual conferences across the country, and are united in the mantra of ’Equal Pay for Equal Work’.

Teachers at the ASTI conference in Killarney said they’d be better off abroad.

One teacher said: "The Minister has a big vision for education and we welcome that but it is not going to happen unless you address the unequal pay issue.

Another one added: "I would ask the minister does he want to keep highly qualified teachers in Ireland. If so you have to pay them equally."

The young teachers made their comments as it was revealed around 450 teachers have left the ASTI union in the first three months of the year.

The union is meeting in Killarney this afternoon with restoration of pay being top of the agenda.

ASTI vice president Ger Curtin said that he understands why some people are unhappy with their management.

The ASTI has been involved in a number of disputes over the past year, and Mr Curtin said that they do not want any more strikes.

"Well, who wants to close schools? In an ideal world, no, we don’t want to close schools, certainly not," he said.

"Our main focus is our student, primarily, and our colleagues who are not being treated properly.

"If you think about this now, surely to God anybody would say: ’Can we not get this sorted?’."

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