Meeting with PSSA Oversight Body in relation to issues around pay equality
TUI, ASTI and INTO representatives met with the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) Oversight Body in relation to issues around pay equality on 18th January, 2019.
Further engagement is expected and the Union will keep members updated on any developments.
Members vote to accept proposal on ‘new entrant’ salary scales in context of union’s ongoing campaign
In a national ballot in October 2018, TUI members voted to accept a proposal on ‘new entrant’ salary scale issues by a margin of 53% to 47% in the context of the union’s ongoing campaign for pay equality. In accepting the proposal, members took the pragmatic view that it represented another step in the campaign for pay equality, in that the measure will allow new and recent entrants to progress up the scale quicker.
However, the TUI is very clear that, of itself, this measure does not deliver pay equality, will have little impact on the deepening crisis of recruitment and retention in Irish schools and that the union’s campaign will continue until this pay equality is achieved.
There is no such thing as partial pay equality and the continuing injustice of discrimination against new and recent entrants to teaching remains to be comprehensively addressed.
Moreover, because the degree of discrimination is most significant in the initial years of employment as a teacher, the crisis of teacher recruitment and retention will remain and almost certainly worsen in the coming years.
Which grades of TUI members will benefit from the removal of points 4 and 8 from ‘new entrant’ scales?
TUI members in the following grades who commenced employment on or after 1st January 2011 will benefit:
- Assistant Lecturers
- Youthreach Resource Persons
- BTEI Adult Educators
- Adult Guidance Counsellor/Co-Ordinators
- Adult Literacy Organisers
- Community Education Facilitators
What will members gain from this measure?
From 1st March 2019, two scale points (4 and 8) will be removed from the various post-1st January 2011 ‘new entrant’ scales, meaning that new and recent entrants will progress up the scale more quickly.
Where can I see how the measure will benefit me?
Detailed examples of how the measure benefits members depending on grade and date of commencement of employment were provided in the TUI News ballot special (Vol 41 No 2).
What about the Union’s mandate for industrial action on new entrant pay?
TUI members chose to reject the proposed Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) in a national ballot in September 2017 as it failed to provide a fair and sustainable resolution to pay inequality.
In a simultaneous ballot, members voted to provide a mandate for industrial action as directed by the Executive Committee.
This mandate can still be activated by the Union if and when it sees fit to do so.
What has been achieved for new and recent entrants since the imposition (in 2011 and 2012) of discriminatory salary scales?
In negotiations that led to the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA), teacher unions secured improved salary scales for post 1st January 2011 and post 1st February 2012 entrants. Under the HRA, implementation of the Ward Report reduced the qualifying period for a Contract of Indefinite Duration (CID) from four years to two years.
Following its rejection of the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA), the TUI balloted for and commenced a campaign of industrial action on issues not covered by the LRA, principally new entrant pay. TUI secured negotiations with Government. As a result of this, TUI secured, with INTO, an agreement to incorporate the value of the Honours Primary Degree Allowance (€4,918) into a revised salary scale for those appointed on or after 1st January 2011. The first half of the value of the allowance was added on 1st January 2017, with the second half of the value of the allowance being added on 1st January 2018.
From 1st March 2019, two scale points (4 and 8) will be removed from the various post-1st January 2011 ‘new entrant’ scales, meaning that new entrants will progress up the scale quicker. Those who have longest suffered the imposition of discriminatory pay scales will benefit soonest.
For example, a teacher who commenced on 1st September 2011 is currently on point 7. On 1st March 2019 (increment date) that teacher will move three incremental points to point 10 (encompassing the normal incremental move of one point and a two point ‘jump’ because of new measure). This is an increase of €4,956 in salary, of which €3,466 is attributable to the removal of the two points.
(Full details of how and when the measure will benefit new and recent entrants depending on year of entry are available in TUI News special Vol 41/No 2).
Joint campaign by the teacher unions - what’s the current position?
Contrary to what some commentary suggests, the joint campaign envisaged by the unions has not been set aside by recent developments. Such complication as there is results from the fact that different procedures and timelines apply in each union.
None of the three unions has repudiated the PSSA. All are currently regarded as encompassed by that
The TUI has accepted the proposed measure on new entrant pay on the basis that it represents a move forward in the context of the Union’s ongoing campaign for pay equality. It is a road-sign, not a destination.
The unambiguous message to members in the TUI News Ballot Special (October 2018) was that, regardless of the outcome of the ballot, whether accepted or not accepted, “the Union’s ongoing campaign will continue until pay equality is delivered”. Moreover, the TUI has a mandate for industrial action.
For its part, the TUI is entirely committed to securing pay equality and will, insofar as possible, pursue that objective in a joint campaign with our colleagues in ASTI and INTO.
Processes to deal with the outstanding issues – the H.Dip. allowance and entry point on scale
H. Dip./PME allowance
The TUI brought the matter of the (Higher Diploma in Education) H.Dip./PME allowance to the Teachers’ Conciliation Council (TCC)in October 2016 and in spring 2017 submitted a paper setting out in detail the Union’s position. In discussion of the issue at the Council, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) offered the view that it could be encompassed by the talks under Section 4 of the PSSA.
When the TUI raised the issue at those talks the DPER representatives advised that they did not have a remit to build a costing for restoration of the H.Dip./PME allowance into the proposal (that was published on 24th September).
At the most recent meeting of the Teachers’ Conciliation Council, it was acknowledged by the DES that the Section 4 talks had not encompassed the matter of the allowance and that it could now be considered as a claim by the Council.
The TUI is updating its earlier submission to take account of recent developments, including government-endorsed proposals to enhance certain allowance arrangements in the health sector of the public service.
Initial Placement on the Incremental Scale
In late 2017, the TUI and our sister teacher unions made a joint submission to the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) in relation to recruitment and retention issues in the education sector, most particularly in relation to teachers. The PSPC was tasked by government with reporting on the health sector in the first instance. This it did in September 2018. The TUI will be pressing for completion of the Commission’s consideration of the education sector as a matter of urgency, given the recruitment and retention crisis, the existence and severity of which is now frankly recognised by all relevant parties.
In the submission to the Commission, the unions made the point that elimination of incremental recognition for the period of unpaid, pre-service training has had a seriously detrimental impact on the attractiveness of teaching as a profession and have sought re-instatement of initial placement on the third point of scale for teachers.
The elimination of the remaining differentials between the early points of the new entrant scales and the pre-2011 scales has also been identified by the TUI as a matter that needs to be resolved. Unlike the H.Dip. allowance and initial placement on the incremental scale, this is a matter that is cross-sectoral and that can be effectively addressed only on a public service-wide basis.