Members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) are today staging lunchtime protests around the country over the continuing injustice of pay discrimination. Service to students is not affected by the protests, which are taking place outside the schools, colleges, centres and Institutes of Technology in which TUI members work.
Teachers and lecturers who entered the profession since 2011 are still paid at a lower rate than their colleagues for carrying out the same work.
TUI is insisting that the current engagement between unions and the Government must resolve the issue of pay discrimination.
Speaking today, TUI President Joanne Irwin said:
‘Pay discrimination poses a very real threat to the high quality of the Irish education system.
46% of post-2011 entrants to the profession do not believe that they will still be in the profession in ten years’ time, according to a recent TUI survey. If pay equality was restored, 94% said that they would remain. Meanwhile, 52% said that they would not advise a younger relative to pursue the profession of teaching.
It is a complete injustice that one teacher is on a lesser pay rate than another for carrying out the same work. This system of pay discrimination has completely undermined the profession and has had a devastating impact on morale in staffrooms.
Unsurprisingly, it has also led to widespread difficulties in the recruitment and retention of teachers, which inevitably impairs the quality of service to students in terms of subject choice and consistency of provision. All education stakeholders acknowledge that recruitment problems are evident both across the country and across a broad range of subjects including, but not limited to, Modern Languages, Mathematics, Science, Irish, Home Economics and the technologies.
At third level, some Institutes of Technology have reported difficulties in recruiting staff at Assistant Lecturer entry grade. In a number of cases, advertisements in key disciplines have not attracted any applications and the posts have had to be re-advertised.
In another significant finding of TUI’s recent survey, just 22% received a contract of full hours in their first year of teaching. This confirms that almost four out of every five second level teachers - who get their first teaching post at an average age of 26, often saddled with debt after six years of study - earn just a fraction of the starting salary that the Minister so regularly quotes.
Irrespective of whether they are personally affected by pay inequality, TUI members are completely united in demanding its end as a matter of urgency.
This injustice cannot continue. The current engagement between unions and the Government must finally resolve this critical issue.’
There were 376 respondents to a March 2018 TUI survey of teachers who commenced employment after 1st January 2011.