More than two-thirds of teachers struggle to make ends meet.
A new survey of almost 800 members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) illustrated the extent of the pay issues in the sector.
The survey, presented on the final day of the TUI’s annual congress in Killarney, included opinions on stress levels and investment in the sector. The respondents included a large number of new-entrant teachers.
The issue of the pay gap in the sector has been a constant theme of the three-day congress. A number of motions were passed by members condemning the pay shortfalls for those who started teaching after 2011, including an emergency motion to ballot for potential industrial action if the issue is not resolved.
It was addressed directly by TUI president Seamus Lahart, who warned Education Minister Joe McHugh that the issue will be a factor at the ballot box if it is not resolved.
Mr McHugh told delegates that there is “unfinished business” on the matter and that it would be given “full consideration”.
The anonymous survey had 798 respondents. Of these, 69% said that they found it hard to make ends meet at the end of a pay period, 40% said that they do not have the same enthusiasm for their job as when they started, and 60% said that they would not recommend a career in teaching to their children or students.
More than 80% said that staff morale in schools has suffered due to pay inequality, and 62% said that they find work stressful ‘often’ or ‘always’.
Teachers commented that they are “overwhelmed with paperwork”, which takes from time spent teaching.
The enthusiasm for the classroom is there but not for the endless paperwork and dealing with issues outside the classroom,” one said.
Another added: “Nothing is ever enough. Expectations are endless.”
Teachers were also critical of the lack of investment in their working environment, with 89% of respondents saying that under-investment has affected their workplace or job.
“We are expected to do more with less,” said one respondent.