The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned that a severe teacher recruitment and retention problem in schools is being exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis. For a number of years, the Union has highlighted the acute negative effect that pay discrimination has had on both the attractiveness of and morale within the profession.
The Union has called on the Department of Education to immediately confirm reinstatement of the value of the Postgraduate Masters in Education (PME) allowance (formerly HDip Allowance) - value currently €1,314 - to those teachers appointed after 2012.
TUI’s second level members sacrificed a general 1% pay increase payable on 1st February 2022 under Building Momentum so that the equivalent funding would allow reinstatement of the value of the allowance for those members appointed after 2012, but over six months on, despite teachers effectively financing it themselves, a circular letter authorising payment has yet to be published by the Department.
At a time of a severe teacher supply crisis, the delay is a source of great frustration to the TUI.
Speaking today, TUI President Liz Farrell said:
“Currently, as the new academic year is upon us, schools are experiencing alarming difficulties hiring teachers across a wide range of subject areas. This is largely driven by pay discrimination, which sees teachers paid at different rates for carrying out the same work. The cost-of-living crisis, particularly in relation to accommodation and transport, is worsening what was already a dire situation, particularly in larger urban areas.
A survey of over 1,200 of our members earlier this year showed that while just 30% of those employed after 2011 believe at the moment that they will still be in the profession in ten years’ time, that percentage changes to 75% should pay discrimination be completely resolved. So clearly, this scandal must be urgently addressed. The delay of this payment is of great frustration to the TUI, as it has been the longstanding position of the Union that all second level members would forgo a 1% pay increase payable on 1st February 2022 to facilitate its reintroduction for those members affected. Yet six months on, we await what should surely be a straightforward payment.
Essentially, this is cost neutral for Government. The money to resolve this injustice has been donated by teachers themselves but continues to rest in exchequer accounts. It has already been budgeted for. We urge the Department to immediately confirm reinstatement of the allowance’s value ahead of the school year.”
Teachers need jobs, not hours
“Once again, ahead of the school year, it is important to highlight that after qualifying, most second level teachers struggle financially for several years on contracts of low hours.
A survey of our membership earlier this year showed that 65% of teachers appointed after 2011 did not get a contract of full hours upon initial appointment, which means that for several years, they only earn a fraction of a full salary. With the current cost-of-living crisis, this is unsustainable.
Teachers must be provided with secure jobs of full hours and the remaining elements of pay discrimination must be resolved as a matter of urgency.”