ASTI general secretary Pat King said the union’s job now was to row back “each and every’’ pre-Haddington Road pay cut and levy, including the pension levy.
In his address to delegates at the ASTI convention, he also said some form of social partnership deal should not be ruled out by trade unions – and that it was a question of whether the ASTI wanted to influence matters outside of pay, such as taxation policy and the quality of state services. But he warned against possible efforts to link the Junior Cycle dispute with pay and said it was important to bring the dispute to a successful conclusion before pay talks with the Government commence next month.
Mr King said that if the take-home pay of teachers is to be improved, probably the best way to do it would be through a pension levy reduction. However, the union should beware of promises of income tax cuts, as taxation was directly linked to resources that go into the public service generally.
“Remuneration for public servants must be no less attractive than is available in other sectors of the economy; otherwise, there will be a further exodus from the public service and we will find it increasingly more difficult to attract good people into teaching, nursing, the gardaí…it’s already happening in teaching.”
Speaking afterwards, Mr King said “high fliers” were traditionally attracted to teaching in Ireland – which was not the case in some other countries – but such people would go elsewhere unless teaching continued to be attractive. As an indication, he said the CAO points entry level to some teacher training colleges had dropped in recent years.
Mr King said there was nothing irresponsible in calling for pay increases for public servants. He also said it was time to start restoring the education system and reinstating the hundreds of teaching jobs lost through pupil-teacher ratio increases, guidance cuts and cuts in resource teachers.
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Teachers hit out at pay disparity
Young teachers highlighted pay anomalies under which those doing the same work in the same school are on different salary levels.
Colleagues Therese Glennon, in her early thirties, and Keith Howley, 25, both of Pobal Scoil Neasain, Baldoyle, Dublin, hit out at a “disgraceful situation” and supported calls for pay parity in the profession.
They also claimed at the ASTI convention that high calibre young people would not be attracted to the profession unless it was made more attractive.
Ms Glennon compared the situation to what pertained decades ago where women were paid less than men for doing the same work.
“Keith and I are doing the same work, but we’re not equal as regards pay. There are three different pay scales.
“This is just unacceptable,” she said.
Ms Glennon, who teaches English and religion, said teachers had got some of their allowances back, which was a step in the right direction, but what they really wanted was pay parity.
Mr Howley said a good education system was vital for the economy and if society wanted high quality teachers they would have to pay them properly.
Delegates debated motions demanding the restoration of the pre-2011 common basic scale for all teachers.
They are also seeking the reinstatement of qualification allowances for all entrants to teaching after 2011.
Those motions were deferred and will be discussed today.
Dublin South Central delegate Sinead Corkery said there was a Government strategy of divide and conquer in relation to pay with so many different rates.
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