As the countdown continues to talks on public service pay with unions and the Government, second-level and third-level teaching staff also said that priority should be given to putting all members of the profession on equal pay structures.
They felt strongly enough to support a call for industrial action if a successor to the Haddington Road Agreement does not satisfactorily address current three-tiered salary structure in place for four years.
But a strong message from TUI motions passed yesterday was that there should be no strings attached to anything that is achieved.
“We don’t want ‘business as usual’ where we receive a document where our conditions are again massacred, just so we can get some of our legitimate pay claims addressed,” said Tom Dooley from Dundalk Institute of Technology.
Cork city delegate, Ger Brennan, proposing a successful motion that negotiations for a successor to the Haddington Road Agreement not be linked to discussions on productivity, and said damage already done to work conditions should not be compounded now the economy is recovering.
“We should be seeking restoration, but without any stings in the tail,” he said.
The abolition of the pension levy on public servants is also to be made a priority for TUI negotiators, with one delegate describing it as an unjust levy that has been taking money out of their pockets since 2009.
TUI general secretary, John MacGabhann, said it has nothing at all to do with pensions, and is direct taxation by another means.
“The Universal Social Charge has application right across the labour force, but the pension related reduction is very specifically directed at the public service. We feel that was unjust and we therefore feel that it should be removed,” he said.
A motion seeking the abolition of the USC was also later passed by the congress of over 400 delegates, representing TUI’s 14,000-plus members in schools, institutes of technology, adult and further education centres.
“We’re also working for pay equalisation so the false thresholds on people, depending on when they entered the profession, would be removed. They are offensive to us,” Mr MacGabhann said.
The different rates of pay for those who started teaching after 2011, with further reductions imposed on new public servants from 2012, were the subject of a number of motions approved.
With more recent recruits now facing greater difficulty getting full-time or permanent work, he highlighted a recent case dealt with by TUI.
“A single job had been split three ways by management so that three new entrant teachers were made dance to a strident tune for a full year. During this time, two of the three earned under €10,000 and the third earned marginally over €11,000,” he said.
“When not teaching, they were expected without additional payment to serve as indentured servants. This is not the way to treat teachers. This is not the way to treat any worker,” he said.
TUI executive members Barry Williams said the union had let young teachers and lecturers down when they accepted changes for then-future entrants put forward by the previous government after they had taken as much as they could from existing public servants.
But, he said, they now have the chance to fix it by making it their first priority in pay talks, even after some progress achieved in the Haddington Road deal to bridge the gap.
TUI president Gerry Quinn said it is time that teachers are treated as humans rather than units of production.
He said that technocrats have signed up to managerialism, using propaganda, using the term ‘reform’ for cuts, ‘restructuring’ for rationalisation, and ‘flexibility’ for casualisation. But, he said, disgust at their attempts at subterfuge on those issues have helped energise union members.
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