Breathnach to announce £67m teacher package


TEACHER unions and the Government have agreed to phase in a £67 million deal on pay conditions for the State's 40,000, teachers over the next three years.

The Minister for Education, Ms Breathnach, is expected to announce the terms of the deal later this week when long running negotiations are completed.

In return for increased allowances and an early retirement scheme, teachers are expected to agree to greater flexibility. This will include a more open appointments system, and the assignment of specific duties to teachers appointed to posts of responsibility.

The eighth point on the teacher's pay scale is to be abolished, meaning that those with seven years' experience will move up to the ninth point on the pay scale.

Only about half the £66.7 million package is covered by the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW), which runs until the end of this year. Remaining costs will be met in the succeeding two years.

The talks may be wrapped up this week without complete agreement on a few outstanding issues. Unions and schools managers in the vocational sector are still at odds over the new promotions system to be employed - the Teachers' Union of Ireland have argued that seniority should be one of the criteria used when filling promotional posts.

About 26,000 teachers are to benefit directly from the deal, which will see allowances increased by an average of 28 per cent. At primary level, 2,600 new posts of responsibility will be created. At second level, 600 new posts are being created.

Existing post holders will be allowed move to the new management structure if they agree to take on specific duties.

Other elements of the package include early retirement for 300 teachers a year and £1,000 for teachers aged 55 years with 35 years' service who remain in the system. Second level teachers will be allowed retire early at 55 with 35 years' service, the same as for primary teachers.

In return, teachers are expected to agree to work 15 hours a year extra and to be allocated to non teaching duties such as staff development.

Teachers will also provide more cover for absent colleagues than at present, and parents will have the right to meet their children's teachers outside class time.