The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) will ballot its 18,000 members next month to renew a mandate for industrial action, up to and including strike action, as part of its campaign to end pay discrimination.
The ballot will run from mid-September to early October.
Speaking today, TUI President Seamus Lahart said:
‘In September 2017, TUI members gave their Union a mandate for industrial action, up to and including strike action, as part of the campaign for pay equality. That mandate is now being refreshed.
Progress has been made in the campaign to end pay discrimination, but a gap remains. The process must now be completed and this injustice conclusively addressed.
The biggest differences in pay between those employed before and after 1st January 2011 still occur in the early years of employment, with new entrants to second level teaching earning 14% less on initial appointment and 10% less in the first 10 years than they would have before the introduction of cutbacks.
This two-tier pay regime is a cynical, damaging, discrimination, resulting in situations where colleagues are paid at different rates for carrying out the same work. It must also be borne in mind that many new entrants to teaching do not secure a contract of full hours upon initial appointment, many earning just a fraction of the whole-time salary. In addition, they are commencing their career at an average age of 26.
We are not looking for preferential treatment for these teachers – we are simply looking for all teachers to be treated equally. Needless to say, they are fully supported by longer-serving colleagues in this campaign for justice and equity, which remains TUI’s key priority.
Along with significant financial losses suffered by the individual, a crisis in teacher supply is directly attributable to this Government’s policy of discriminating against new entrants. A survey of principals in a sixth of the country’s second level schools carried out by TUI in April found that over the previous six months, 94% of schools experienced teacher recruitment difficulties, 68% of schools advertised positions to which no teacher applied, while 47% of schools had unfilled teaching vacancies. With the new academic year commencing around the country, there is already strong anecdotal evidence that these difficulties are worsening.
Those affected by this injustice are rightly frustrated at the slow pace of progress. For the sake of teachers and students, equal pay for equal work be restored as a matter of urgency.’
What remains to be achieved?