ASTI to urge members to reject new public pay deal

Union leader says it is ‘scandalous’ pay inequality would persist despite past 10 months

ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie. The union is to urge members to reject the new public pay deal.  File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie. The union is to urge members to reject the new public pay deal. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Second-level teachers union the ASTI is to urge its members to reject the new public service pay agreement in a forthcoming ballot.

The union said on Saturday following a meeting of its central executive council that the new accord did not resolve the issue of ensuring equal pay for teachers recruited after 2010.

Teachers hired after 2010 are currently on lower salary scales than their colleagues who were hired before that date.

Speaking after Saturday’s meeting, ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie said that while the proposed agreement included modest pay increases for teachers, it followed a 12-year period during which teachers endured significant cuts to pay and increased work demands.

“In the past 10 months we have seen an unprecedented display of commitment, flexibility, hard work and agility across a range of civil and public services. During this time teachers and school leaders have worked tirelessly to support their students and to ensure their education continues. In this context it is scandalous to think that a significant proportion of these teachers are experiencing pay discrimination. These teachers have been denied equal pay for up to a decade,” he said.

ASTI president Ann Piggott also said: “We cannot accept proposals that involve a continuation of unequal pay for thousands of second-level teachers. This injustice is not just felt by those personally affected, but by the entire teaching profession. The ASTI took strike action over this issue and all members endured the force of punitive measures. Today’s decision demonstrates that ASTI members want to continue to stand up for lower-paid teachers.”

Reduced career earnings

At the meeting some of the teachers affected stated that they have experienced unequal pay for up to 10 years. Many are now in their 30s and 40s and have substantially reduced career earnings.

The ASTI ballot on the pay accord will take place in the coming weeks.

The leadership of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has also urged its members to reject the proposed agreement, which was negotiated last month, in a forthcoming ballot.

The deal provides for a 1 per cent pay rise in October 2021 and a further 1 per cent rise in October 2022.

There is also another pool of money, equivalent to a further 1 per cent pay increase, being set aside to deal with issues, pay claims or outstanding awards in particular parts of the public service.

Various unions and organisations representing about 340,000 State employees are currently considering the new agreement.

The public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will decide in February on whether to ratify the deal based on ballots of its affiliated members.