Latest: Three teachers' unions pass motion bringing them closer to industrial action

Latest: Three teachers' unions pass motion bringing them closer to industrial action

Update - 3.41pm: All three teachers’ unions have unanimously passed an emergency motion on pay inequality paving the way for joint strikes by 70,000 teachers.

The motion calls for talks with the Government to start this month and to conclude by early May, with a concrete timeline for the restoration of pay for lower paid teachers.

The unions, which are all holding their annual conferences this week, will ballot their members for co-ordinated strike action if the issue is not resolved.

Siobhan Peters, who seconded the motion at the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland Congress in Cork, said: "I myself am five increment behind a 2010 graduate with the same experience and this is the best-case scenario for 2011 graduates.

"I'm sure that there are many more lower paid teachers who are further behind on the incremental scale as a result of part-time hours and casual contracts.

"I think it is fair to say that no-one expected instantaneous results or expected lower paid teachers to gain pay parity overnight."

6.48am: INTO members to discuss pay inequality at conference today

The issue of pay inequality is centre stage at the INTO conference in Killarney.

Education Minister Richard Bruton is attending the event this morning following the Taoiseach's promise to engage in negotiations by the end of April.

Teachers meeting in Cork and Kerry have agreed to table an emergency motion calling on the Government to end pay inequality.

Delegates at the INTO conference and the ASTI teachers union will both debate the same motion today and it is expected the TUI will join them.

Members will discuss the motion later today.

They say a teacher who started working in 2012 will earn €100,000 less than someone who began in 2010, over the course of their career.

INTO General Secretary Sheila Nunan says they want to get the pay debate off the agenda once and for all.

"We're very pleased that negotiations will be starting," she said.

"We'll have to put our shoulders to the wheel at that point and see if we can close out this issue for once and for all. But there are motions to be debated here today saying that if we fail to do that then we will be balloting out members for industrial action and we understand there will be similar motions across the TUI and the ASTI.

I think we're very resolved for once and for all, can we get this off the agenda, can we treat our young teachers properly and can we move on with other issues in education.

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