Young teachers to lose out on pay

Thousands of young teachers will lose out on another bridging of the pay gap with longer-serving teachers as they remain outside a public service pay deal.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) and Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said the increases agreed with the Government mark another step in their campaigns to restoring pay equity for younger members hit by cuts since 2011. When combined with increases payable this year and next to most teachers, not including 18,500 members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), teachers’ starting pay will rise 15% from €31,009 to €35,602 by early 2018.

The ASTI is balloting members in the coming weeks for possible industrial action to achieve full restoration of pay equality, with hundreds of second-level schools in danger of being closed by strikes if the vote is passed. The union’s members rejected the Landsdowne Road Agreement (LRA) and so are also not receiving an additional €1,600 a year being paid to all other teachers in two phases this year and next.

Highlighting the ASTI’s isolated position, Education Minister Richard Bruton and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said it is seen by the Government as the most appropriate way to make progress on pay restoration. “This agreement shows how the LRA can resolve issues of concern for our public servants,” said Mr Donohoe.

But after a meeting of its 23-member standing committee yesterday, ASTI president Ed Byrne said his union will continue to pursue a resolution through talks but members want equal pay for equal work.

“However, we reiterate that ASTI members have rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement for a number of reasons, including its failure to deliver pay equalisation for new teachers,” he said.

Because of the significant proportion of teachers’ pay which allowances in respect of qualifications accounted for historically, the profession was hit harder than most others by a 2012 removal of a range of allowances paid to new entrants to the public service.

This measure will see €1,000 added to salaries of those starting out as teachers from January 2017 and another €1,000 the following January. But amounts between €164 and €3,000 a year are added to salaries of those teaching since February 2012 at different points in their careers, including an estimated 3,500 INTO members.

Some will not see the benefits for several years but their career earnings could rise by between €100,000 and €135,000. The 1,000-plus TUI members who began their careers since 2012 will remain slightly behind, however, as a higher qualifications allowance previously paid to second-level teachers is not fully reflected in the new pay arrangements.

In return for the pay deal, the INTO and TUI have committed to talks about reforming school middle-management structures, to include new procedures for recruiting teachers to the posts and flexibility around the required duties to reflect the needs of students.

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