Young teachers are putting their lives on hold due to their lower level of pay, according to newly-qualified members of the profession.
It comes as the Teachers’ Union of Ireland’s congress unanimously passed a motion calling for a conclusion of talks on bringing about pay equality for teachers by early next month, in line with motions passed by its sister unions. The congress heard from post-2011 recruits to teaching who discussed the impact the two-tier system has had on them.
Tom Dixon, 28, from Kildare, says he lives at home with his mother, and has worked jobs outside of school to supplement his income.
“At this stage of my life, where I try to plan for a wedding or a mortgage, I find it hard even to plan to the end of the month, and I work just as hard as my colleagues. To put things into perspective for you, if I were to strike for three months solid without pay, but after those three months the Government saw sense and equalised the scale, I would be up money that year.
“I have already lost out on €30,000, which would be a deposit for a mortgage for me.”
Stephanie Hassett, who qualified in 2010, said she does not feel like a newly qualified teacher, and that her peers are looking to move on with their lives.
“This is the first year I’ve had a 22-hour CID [contract of indefinite duration], as close to permanency as I’ll ever get,” she said. “Without full hours and the security of a CID, most new entrants are postponing moving out, buying homes, and starting families. Decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives.”
Paddy Travers said the two-tier pay structure has led some newly qualified teachers to question why they should join a union: “If we don’t take a stand now, will there be a union in the future? Talking to fellow lower-paid teachers, they question the validity of joining a union that stands by while inequality is hoisted on the back of its most vulnerable members.
“We need to decide what being in a union actually means, and use any and all means at our disposal to ensure that this is the end of the road for inequality, not the start of another roadmap.”
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