What’s in it for me? Teachers weigh up Croke Park II

If passed, Croke Park II will have different implications for different teachers. Four teachers decide

Tue, Apr 2, 2013, 06:00

Members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) have made their position clear on Croke Park II. They have voted against a package of measures that includes compulsory, unpaid supervision and substitution work as well as pay cuts for top earners. The two remaining teaching unions are still to cast their ballots, and what they see and hear at this year’s teachers’ conferences will likely feed into their decisions. The executive of the post-primary teaching union Asti has recommended a No vote. The executive of the INTO, which represents primary-school teachers and is the largest and therefore most influential of the three, has left it up to its members to decide.

It’s a tough call for those at top table because Croke Park II is a more nuanced package than its predecessor and it affects teachers at different levels in different ways. There is a perception that this is the agreement that puts things right for new entrants to the profession, who got a very raw deal in Croke Park I, but hits the most senior people in the teaching profession the hardest. However, all teachers considering how to vote in next week’s ballot have to look at Croke Park in the round and do their sums. Do they stand to lose an allowance for duties to board of management? Do they stand to lose thousands a year on lost supervision pay? How will a freeze in increments affect their long-term earning and pension entitlements? We spoke to four teachers at different levels who have done the sums and now must make their decision.



Fintan O’Mahony
PROFILE

Teaching for 20 years in a post-primary school in Carrick-on-Suir. Member of Asti.
Current pay level: €60,000
Salary drop since 2009: About €130 a week after tax.
What, for you, are the salary implications of Croke Park

II?
At €60,000 I will go into the cuts bracket during the life of the deal if it’s passed. That will mean a cut of between 5.5 and 6 per cent.”
What changes would you expect

if CPII is passed?
I don’t

do supervision and substitution (S&S) duties. I chose to spend my free periods preparing classes. Under CPII I would have to sign up for 49 hours of S&S for free each year. It’s equivalent to a pay cut of about 3 per cent. I will have to take even more work home because I won’t be able to do it during the working day. It will easily amount to two hours a night.
How will your increments be affected if CP

II is ratified?
I’m at point 20 and I’ve haven’t had an incremental rise in pay for several years.

I’m due a pay rise in September, which will bring me over the €65,000 by €100. I will then be liable for a pay cut. From then on it looks like I won’t get an incremental rise for six or seven years.
Do you stand to lose any allowances?
There is an ongoing review of allowances mentioned in CPII. That would include allowances for teaching through Irish and serving as secretary to the board of management. If those are cut, it won’t affect me.
Would any changes to the redeployment panel arrangements affect you directly?
No.

Any implications for your pension?
Yes. I could retire up to next August on my pre-cut salary. I won’t be doing that, so my pension will be affected by all of the cuts we have talked about. My potential for retirement earning has gone down by about 20 per cent since 2009.
Can you see any potential problems for the

running of your school if CPII is passed?
The changes to S&S rules will leave less time for teaching and planning. Teachers are already finding it difficult to keep up unpaid extra

curricular work such as running sports and drama clubs or managing Green School programmes. If their free periods during the day are taken up with S&S work and they have to take more work home, there will be even less time left to lead extracurricular activities. I used to run the soccer team at school; it was a really successful team that won Munster cups. I’ve had to give it up. You have to have some sort of balance in your life. I have to get home at some stage.
H

ow you are going to vote?
I will vote N

o. I wrote all the pros and cons down on a sheet of paper, and there were more cons.


Carmel Hume
PROFILE Principal of a primary school in Dublin. Teaching for 25 years. Member of the INTO.
Current pay level: €80,000
Salary drop since 2009? 45 per cent since 2010.
What, for you, are the salary implications of Croke Park

II? If CPII

is ratified, my total salary will be cut again by 5.75 per cent; about €100 a week.
How will your increments be affected if CP

II is ratified?

I’m at the top of the pay scale so increment freezes won’t affect me.
What changes would you expect

if CPII is passed?
In our school, nobody opted out of S&S so things will continue as normal, except that people will no longer be paid for the work. From a management point of view, there will be no substitution cover for teachers on sick leave for the first day. I’m concerned that will cause major problems. It’s not like another job where

others can pick up the work. Most jobs don’t involve the redistribution of 35 children.
What allowances do you stand to lose?
I have an allowance for being secretary to the board of management which is outside my job description. I have to attend meetings once a month, and if that allowance is removed I won’t be paid for that time.
Would any changes to the redeployment panel arrangements affect you directly?
No.

Any implications for your pension?
Huge implications. I’m not due to retire for

15 years but I face a €10,500 loss. I stand to lose about €68 a week if it is carried.
Can you see any potential problems for the

running of your school if CPII is passed?
Not directly

, apart from the issue with substitution. A lot of cuts that are going under the radar are making it harder and harder to maintain standards. However, the cuts to the salaries of teachers at the top of the pay scale, the middle management, will impact down the line. These are the people who are taking on the really good initiatives such as Green Schools and technology development. Middle management is being decimated and will probably never be replaced.

H

ow you are going to vote?
I’m torn.

CPII will offer improvements to new entrants and that’s important. There’s great intergenerational solidarity in teaching and that has always benefited the profession. Huge gains have been made; increments have been frozen, but will be paid. But for me, on a personal level, there are huge implications.



Marie Claire Tuite
PROFILE Newly awarded CID (contract of indefinite duration). Teaching in a south Dublin school. Member of Asti.
Current pay rate: €40,000
Salary dro

p since 2009? 6.5 on public sector pay cut and 7.5 pension levy.
What, for you, are the salary implications of Croke Park

II?
I’ve just got a CID this year after seven

years. I’ve had an erratic salary and I have been dependent on pay for S&S cover. It is paid in May and I used to pay house and car insurance. It’s been part of my salary. I’ll have to find that money somewhere else.
How will your increments be affected if CP

II is ratified?
I would get two three-month pauses in payment.
What changes would you expect

if CPII is passed?
I always did the maximum hours S&S anyway, now I will do more

as I will have to be available for five class periods a week rather than three, and I won’t be paid.
What allowances do you stand to lose?
None
Would any changes to the redeployment panel arrangements affect you directly? No
A

ny implications for your pension?
S&S payments would have contributed towards my pension, but won’t now.

A freeze in increments will have implications, too.
Can you see any potential problems for the

running of your school if CPII is passed?
Schools are still trying to grapple with changes from CP

I: it was such a monumental shift. There was a positive attitude to coping with the crisis. No one in my staffroom wanted this to impact on extracurricular activity. People are exhausted. They’re coming in early to do choir, debating or orchestra and staying late to do extra hours. I think the compulsory S&S hours will be hard on older staff.
H

ow are you going to vote?
I’m quite disillusioned with whole voting process. I understood that CP

I would stand until 2014. I am tending towards No.


Aoife Clifford
PROFILE Newly-qualified teacher, working as a substitute across several schools in Dublin. Member of the INTO.
Current pay rate? I’m not on a pay scale.
How much did your salary drop by since 2010?
I was at college when the decision was made to impose an 11 per cent pay cut for new entrants who qualified in 2011/12.
What, for you, are the salary implications of Croke Park

II?

I work day-to-day and I’m never sure if I’m going to be able to pay the rent. If I got a permanent job as it stands, I would be paid 11 per cent less than someone who graduated the year ahead of me. If CPII is passed, there will be a slight increase over the life of my salary, compared to what was agreed in CPI. However, this will be almost nullified by abolition of S&S payments.
How will your increments be affected if CP

II is ratified?
I don’t

get increments as I don’t have a permanent job.
What changes would you expect in your working day if CP II is passed?
Schools will not be able to hire substitute teachers for the first day of certified sick leave. That’s destroying a day’s work for teachers like me. The cumulative effect for subs like me will be significant. I anticipate my work will decrease.
What allowances do you stand to lose?
None in CPII.
Would any changes to the redeployment panel arrangements affect you directly?
No
A

ny implications for your pension?
Eventually.

Any potential problems for the overall running of the school where you teach if CPII is passed?
Definitely. The S&S cut will mean there will be a class without a teacher for numerous days of the year. Children will be split up and put at the back of classes doing worksheets for the day.


How are you are going to vote?
I’m going to vote No because I can’t see any positives to the CPII agreement. There is still a two-tier system that the Government has created between younger and older teachers.