Donohoe rejects Mitchell O’Connor equal pay for teachers call

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform says issue cannot be dealt with in isolation

Minister of State Mary Mitchell O’Connor, a former school principal, said she believes ‘everyone who does the same job deserves the same pay’.

Minister of State Mary Mitchell O’Connor, a former school principal, said she believes ‘everyone who does the same job deserves the same pay’.

 

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has ruled out immediately reinstating equal pay for all teachers.

Mr Donohoe was responding to comments by Cabinet colleague Mary Mitchell O’Connor who last week said she supported the principle. She said “everyone who does the same job deserves the same pay”.

Ms Mitchel O’Connor, who is the Minister of State for Higher Education and can attend Cabinet meetings, called for young teachers who joined after 2011 to be put on the same pay scales as their older colleagues.

In response to the economic crisis, the starting salaries for secondary school teachers was reduced in 2011 from €40,730 to €32,294. The teachers unions estimate that it will cost a newly qualified teacher€100,000 over the course of a career.

The Government has to date resisted calls to restore pay levels for thousands of younger teachers hired on lower pay scales following the economic crash.

On Friday, Mr Donohoe described Ms Mitchell O’Connor’s call for equal pay for teachers as a “very compact campaigning slogan” but not one that can be implemented at present.

However, Mr Donohoe insisted the issue of pay equality for teachers cannot be dealt with in isolation.

He said it could only be dealt with if the Lansdowne Road Agreement was ratified by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

He added: “I’m very clear it’s not an issue that we can address in isolation of looking to improve public services and meeting the needs from a weight point of view of all the other public servants in our state.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke programme, Mr Donohoe pointed out that pay equalisation across the public service could cost €200 million.

He contrasted that with a 1 per cent increase in pay for all public servants which would cost €160 million.

He said: “It’s all about trying to strike a balance. Of course I know that those who joined our public services at a particular time want to see their pay back and want to see it changed quickly but I need to balance that against the need for improved services. I need to balance that against the need to hire more public servants.”

A spokeswoman for Ms Mitchell O’Connor said she had no response to make to Mr Donohoe’s comments.