Second-level teachers have said they may ballot for strike action following their rejection of Government proposals for ending the controversial two-tier pay system for staff recruited in recent years.
However the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) indicated it would only take such action if primary school teachers also were to hold a vote for industrial action.
At its meeting in Dublin on Saturday the ASTI's central executive council (CEC) adopted a motion stating its "intention to conduct a ballot for industrial action in parallel with the primary teachers' union (INTO), should the INTO proceed with a ballot".
The move follows the ASTI’s rejection of the Government’s proposals for ending the two-tier pay system in a ballot of members in November 2018. The proposals were also rejected by members of the INTO
ASTI President Breda Lynch said the union was committed to the abolition of a two-tier pay system for teachers.
“The ASTI has already taken strike action as part of its campaign to achieve equal pay for equal work. We will continue to stand in solidarity with our lower paid colleagues until full pay equality is restored,” he said.
“It is unacceptable that in 2019 we expect a cohort of teachers to do the same work as their colleagues for inferior pay which will lead to substantial losses over their careers. We are committed to ending this discriminatory treatment.”
The INTO said earlier this month that it would enter into “constructive dialogue” with the Government on pay issues before triggering a ballot for industrial action.
The INTO said its central executive committee had reaffirmed its commitment to a ballot on industrial action in the event that this engagement failed to address outstanding pay equality issues for those who entered the profession from 2011 to 2014.
Teaching unions recently met with the group which oversees compliance with the existing public service agreement on the two-tier pay issue.
In September, the Government tabled proposals to end the system of those recruited since 2011 receiving lower pay than longer-serving colleagues by allowing those affected to catch up by jumping two increments on their pay scale over a number of years.
The Government estimated the initiative would cost nearly €200 million by the time the process was completed in 2026.
The new potential challenge to the Government’s pay policy comes as nearly 40,000 nurses seem set to stage the first of a series of 24-hour strikes over pay and staffing issues on Wednesday.