Survey findings show damage of pay discrimination – TUI calls for urgent resolution of situation

By piofficer, Monday, 18th April 2022 | 0 comments

The findings of a new survey of over 1,200 Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) members highlight the continuing negative effects of pay discrimination on the profession, the need for increased investment to assist those students who lost out due to COVID-19 and how bureaucracy deflects from teaching.

TUI has stated that the money to resolve conclusively the scandal of pay discrimination – affecting those appointed since 2011 – has been donated by Post-Primary teachers forgoing a 1% pay increase and that any further delays in ending this scandal are completely unacceptable.

The online survey of 1,209 members at Post-Primary and in Further and Adult Education was carried out in March and April.

Pay Discrimination – money provided by teachers, now this scandal must finally be eliminated

‘Pay discrimination affecting those employed since 2011 has led to a teacher recruitment and retention crisis in our schools.

‘The survey findings show 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.

‘This is a source of great frustration to the TUI, as it has been the position of the Union since last year that all second level members would forgo a 1% pay increase payable on 1st February 2022 so that the equivalent value would allow reinstatement of the Professional Masters in Education (PME) allowance to those appointed since 2012. This money will also allow a return to the pre-2011 system of commencing new, fully qualified post-primary teachers on a higher point of the salary scale in recognition of their six-year, unpaid training period. So effectively the money to end the scandal of pay discrimination has been donated by teachers themselves but is currently resting in exchequer accounts while we wait for resolution. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform must immediately and finally eliminate pay discrimination.

‘As in so many other areas of Irish society, the availability of affordable accommodation is a severe problem. According to the survey findings, based on their teaching salary, 73% of those appointed after 2011 do not believe it would be possible for them to get mortgage approval for a property in or near the location where they work. Meanwhile, of those renting among the same cohort, 98% said it would be extremely difficult (77%) or difficult (21%) to secure new accommodation in the locality if they had to vacate their current accommodation.

‘It is also of great concern that 65% of teachers did not get a contract of full hours upon initial appointment, which meant that for several years, they only earn a fraction of a full salary. To make the profession attractive, we must return to a situation where teachers are appointed to permanent contracts of full hours from the commencement of their careers.’

The legacy of COVID-19 – resourcing required to help students who lost out

‘87% of respondents believe that additional supports are required from 2022/23 to assist those students who lost out most from the disruption to teaching and learning as a result of COVID-19. 84% of respondents believe that emergency remote teaching and learning had a disproportionately negative effect on students from disadvantaged backgrounds, while 84% also believe that some students were unable to engage with emergency remote teaching and learning as a result of not having access to appropriate electronic devices.’

Extracurricular activities

‘The survey findings also highlight the significant additional contribution of teachers to school communities on a voluntary basis. Prior to restrictions necessary as a result of COVID-19, 59% of respondents were involved in extracurricular activities in their school such as sports, drama, music, debating etc. outside of timetabled hours. Of those involved, 57% spent a weekly average of up to two hours, 33% spent a weekly average of between two and four hours and 10% spent a weekly average of over four hours on these activities.’

Paperwork and bureaucracy deflecting from teaching and learning

‘The sharp increase in workload caused by bureaucratic and administrative demands, which deflect from teaching and learning continues to be a source of extreme frustration in schools.

‘90% agree strongly (66%) or agree slightly (24%) that bureaucratic duties/paperwork regularly deflect from their core role of teaching.

‘91% strongly agree (80%) or agree slightly (11%) that bureaucratic duties that deflect from teaching have increased since they commenced their career.

‘This damaging trend must be reversed to allow teachers to concentrate on their core duties.’

Notes to the editor:
Additional findings:

From a list, teachers ranked the following supports in order of what they would most like to see implemented in the next academic year to assist students who have lost out as a result of the move to emergency remote teaching and learning:

  1. Increased teacher allocation to facilitate smaller classes
  2. Increased teacher allocation for learning support
  3. Enhanced guidance counselling support 
  4. Full restoration of middle management positions 
  5. Enhanced IT infrastructure and equipment/devices