Primary school teachers reject Government pay proposals

INTO leadership to consider industrial action at meeting next week

Announcing the result of the ballot of INTO members on the two-tier pay system, general secretary Sheila Nunan said the proposal by Government failed to signal an end to pay inequality for all new entrants.  Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Announcing the result of the ballot of INTO members on the two-tier pay system, general secretary Sheila Nunan said the proposal by Government failed to signal an end to pay inequality for all new entrants. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

 

Primary school teachers have narrowly rejected new Government proposals to address the controversial two-tier pay system in schools. The move increases the potential for disruption in schools in the months ahead.

In a ballot, members of the INTO voted against the Government initiative on new entrant pay by a margin of 53 per cent to 47 per cent. The turnout was 55 per cent.

The union’s central executive will now consider its next steps, including a ballot for industrial action, at a meeting next week.

Last month, 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 INTO said on Tuesday that the vote of its members demonstrated the commitment of its members to secure pay equality.

“The proposed agreement left several new entrant cohorts from 2011 onwards paid less than their colleagues and the membership has sought to stand in unity with their colleagues in demanding full restoration”, it said.

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said: “Notwithstanding progress to date on pay equality, the proposed agreement by Government failed to signal an end to pay inequality for all new entrants. Acting in solidarity with their colleagues who are paid less for doing the same job, our membership has signalled that they will not stand for any agreement which leaves them in a similar position.”

“The central executive committee (CEC) will meet next week to consider the result of the ballot and decide how best to proceed including a ballot for industrial action.”

Last week members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) voted to support the Government’s pay initiative in a ballot by 53 per cent to 47 per cent. However the union maintained the Government’s proposals, in themselves, would not bring an end of pay inequality .

The TUI said the proposals “do not deliver pay equality and will not tackle the recruitment and retention crisis currently afflicting second level schools”.

A vote by members of a third education union, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) is expected next month.