Lower pay for new entrants dominates teachers’ conferences

Minister for Education Richard Bruton will not address ASTI due to ‘logistical constraints’

The Minister for Education Richard Bruton will attend a dinner at the ASTI conference but there will not be a speaking opportunity. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

The Minister for Education Richard Bruton will attend a dinner at the ASTI conference but there will not be a speaking opportunity. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Demands for an end to the two-tier pay scale facing new entrants are set to dominate teachers conferences today.

Teachers recruited since January 2011 are on significantly lower pay-scales than their colleagues due to austerity-era cuts.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), which represents 40,000 primary school teachers north and south of the Border, is set to debate motions calling for an urgent return to pay parity.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton will address the INTO’s delegates at its annual congress in Belfast on Tuesday morning.

However, while he is due to attend the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) annual convention in Killarney later on Tuesday evening, he will not address teachers.

This, a spokesman for the Minister said, was due to “logistical constraints”. Instead, he will attend a dinner, but there will not be a speaking opportunity.

ASTI conferences have often involved a hostile reception for the minister for education of the day.

Heckled

The last time a minister addressed its annual gathering was in 2014 when Ruairi Quinn was heckled by delegates.

Mr Bruton is due to address the annual conference of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland in Cork on Wednesday, as well as the Impact trade union’s education section.

Opening the INTO’s annual congress on Monday, Rosena Jordan, president of the 40,000-strong union , said: “We believe that this unequal pay for exactly the same work is neither justifiable nor lawful.

“The great majority of new entrant teachers are young and we believe that it is indirectly discriminatory on the age ground to pay them less for the same work.”

Her successor who takes over shortly, president-elect John Boyle, has signalled that the union wants an end to two-tier pay completed before the end of the Lansdowne Road in 2018.

The ASTI’s annual conference will also hear motions calling for the pay parity for new entrants, as well as an unwinding of financial emergency legislation.

Pay frozen

Many of the union’s 18,000-members have had their pay frozen and are excluded from measures to provide faster permanency under measures contained in this legislation.

This followed the ASTI’s decision to cease working additional “Croke Park hours”, which the Government regarded as a breach of the Lansdowne Road agreement.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) is also expected to call on the Government to move towards pay parity by restoring a higher diploma allowance to teachers appointed after February 2012.

The union will also highlight the need for additional funding for third-level education. It argues that a dedicated 1 per cent levy should be applied to corporate profits to generate a special fund for the higher education.