Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) members have voted by a margin of 92% to 8% to endorse the Union’s mandate for industrial action, up to and including strike action, as part of the campaign to end pay discrimination.
TUI has once again highlighted the damage inflicted on the education system by pay discrimination. The Union is frustrated by the Government’s inaction on this critical issue and is calling for real engagement from Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh.
The ballot result makes clear that members are united in solidarity with new and recent entrants and are prepared to take industrial action should the process of pay equalisation not be completed in the near future.
Speaking this evening, TUI President Seamus Lahart said:
‘Yet again this year, a new cohort of teachers has entered the profession being paid at a lesser rate than their longer-serving colleagues for carrying out the same work. Progress has been made in this campaign, but our members have run out of patience with the Government’s failure or unwillingness to complete the process of pay equalisation.
This ballot result makes clear that TUI members, regardless of career stage, are united on this issue and are willing to take action, up to and including strike action, unless further progress is made without delay. Minister McHugh should take heed of our resolve.
The largest 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. It must also be remembered that most 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 – almost always in precarious, temporary posts.
Politicians across the political spectrum, including those in Government, have spoken of their commitment to restoring the principle of equal pay for equal work. This has yet to be translated into practical action. With a general election in the offing, members of TUI will be making this a key issue.
We are not looking for preferential treatment for these teachers – we are simply looking for justice, for all teachers to be treated equally.’
The damaging effects of pay discrimination on teaching and learning
‘Pay discrimination is the single greatest cause of the crisis of recruitment and retention in schools across the country. 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. Several weeks into the new academic year, there is already strong evidence that these difficulties are worsening.
Once again, we urge the Minister to engage constructively with us.’
Note to the editor:
What remains to be achieved?
- Elimination of the remaining differences in the early points of scale
- Payment of the HDip/PME allowance to those who started teaching since 2012
- Commencement on point 3 of scale in recognition of the six-year (primary degree and PME) unpaid training period