Teachers' union to continue campaign for pay equality

Teachers' union to continue campaign for pay equality
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The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation says it will continue to campaign for pay equality for all its members following the introduction of pay improvements for public servants.

New entrants' pay was cut during the recession which created a two-tier pay structure in the public service.

However, the Public Service Stability Agreement has sought to address this, and as part of the PSSA post-2011 entrants now skip an increment at the fourth and eighth points of the pay scale to help bring them up to pay levels similar to their more senior colleagues.

Sheila Nunan, General Secretary of the INTO, said the agreement represents “very significant progress” but that more needs to be done to bring about pay parity.

“This is a reasonable amount of money going back into people, but we will not give up on a cohort of teachers who feel that there is still outstanding work to be done. "We're committed to doing that we're in a discussion in government and we would like to bring that to a conclusion,” Ms Nunan said.

“I think one of the key points we have consistently been making since 2011 is while this Troika proposal which brought a 10% cut impacted right across the public service, it impacted disproportionately on teachers, and that was because de facto teachers always started on the second or indeed maybe the third point of the scale.

“The two increments back to everybody does resolve the issue for most people but for teachers, it still leaves a bit to be made up.

"To put this in simple terms, at its worst this was a differential of about €9,000 for teachers. It is now closed up for those outstanding cohorts to a differential of about 1,500 which is in and around maybe a further increment,” Ms Nunan told the Today with Sean O’Rourke programme on RTÉ.

“That's the territory that we are in discussion with government about at the moment, but certainly I will acknowledge that the implementation of more rapid progression for that, for that cohort, of two increments is significant progress, long overdue.

It's been hugely divisive. We see the finishing line, and we're going to get to the finishing line, and we're going to deliver the outstanding bit.

“There's a huge degree of solidarity in our union around this issue, which is hugely heartening and the family of teachers have always felt that they were deeply uncomfortable in their staff rooms working alongside colleagues paid differently and out of both respect and indeed, in terms of fairness and equality, we're not going to leave behind that cohort from 2011 to 2014,” she said.

Ms Nunan said the 'silver lining' of the impasse is that it has created "a new generation of superb activists that will keep up our great tradition of campaigning on pay and conditions for our members".

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