Preschool teacher in court over pension
Minister: Case ‘of major importance’
Ruairí Quinn: wants the court to overturn a Labour Court finding that Anne Boyle was an “employee” of the Minister’s within the terms of the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001
A teacher who taught for 20 years in a preschool for
Traveller children is being denied a teacher’s pension because the Minister for Education is trying to “wash his hands” of her and others in a similar position, the High Court has been told.
In proceedings described by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn as “of major importance” with widespread implications for all teachers, he wants the court to overturn a Labour Court finding that Anne Boyle was an “employee” of the Minister’s within the terms of the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 who is being treated less favourably than other teachers and must be given a pension.
If the Labour Court ruling is upheld, it means Ms Boyle, and others in a similar position, are entitled to be admitted to the national teachers’ pension scheme while the finding the Minister “employs” teachers has implications for all teachers.
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has supported Ms Boyle’s claim she had an employment relationship with the Minister for the purposes of the 2001 Act.
Ms Boyle, Monivea Park, Galway, taught at Hillside Park Pre-school for Travellers until it closed in June 2011.
The Minister contends she was employed by the management committee of that school, not by him. About 50,000 teachers in the State paid by the Minister are employed by the boards of management of the schools, Mr Quinn insists.
Pay and conditions
In submissions for Ms Boyle yesterday, Peter Ward SC argued
the Minister had grant-aided the school, provided grants in accordance with pay rates for teachers and controlled it to an extent. It was “no answer” for the Minister to argue Ms Boyle must now go to volunteers at the school saying she wanted to be admitted to the teachers’ superannuation scheme run by the Minister.
Mr Ward said the Labour Court made its findings after “an exhaustive examination” of Traveller preschools and the manner in which those are controlled by the Minister, especially in relation to pay and conditions of teachers.
The hearing resumes on December 10th.