Pay inequality will impact on quality of education system

By piofficer, Tuesday, 5th September 2017 | 0 comments

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned that pay inequality is impacting on the ability of schools to attract teachers in certain subjects as there are more attractive options available in other employments.

TUI is recommending that its 17,000 members reject the proposed Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 in a national ballot currently taking place. The union has expressed its disappointment that the proposals do not resolve the issue of pay inequality for those who started teaching or lecturing after 1st January 2011.

In a simultaneous ballot, the union is asking that members vote to engage in a campaign of industrial action to resolve key issues, in particular pay inequality.

Speaking today, TUI President Joanne Irwin said:

‘The campaign to eliminate pay discrimination against those appointed on or after 1st January 2011 remains of critical importance to TUI. Some progress has been made, but more needs to be done.’

‘While it offers modest pay increases, acceptance of the proposed Public Service Stability Agreement would further delay, until 2021 at the earliest, further progress in the elimination of pay discrimination. This is the primary reason that we are recommending that members reject it in the national ballot currently taking place.’

‘Already, this two-tier pay system is having severely negative effects. Pay discrimination undermines the morale of the profession, which leads to a churn of teachers and lecturers and a fractured service for students. We are aware of instances where there are few or no applicants for posts in certain subject areas such as Irish, Home Economics, Modern Languages and the Sciences. As a result, schools are experiencing difficulties in ensuring continuity of provision across these subject areas.’

‘Many graduates, who may formerly have chosen teaching, are now choosing options where they can enter the workforce directly after their four-year degree - rather than undertaking the additional two-year Professional Master of Education (PME) required to teach at second-level in Ireland. These graduates commence their career earlier, often at higher starting salaries than are available to teachers.’

‘In addition, a significant number of graduates are choosing to take up teaching positions in other jurisdictions, particularly in the Middle East.’

‘In order to protect the attractiveness of teaching as profession and as a moral imperative, a fair and sustainable resolution of the issue of pay inequality must be accelerated. Therefore the TUI has no option but to recommend that our members reject the proposed Public Service Stability Agreement as one of its effects would be to prolong pay inequality.’

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