Public service pay: ‘Disgraceful treatment of new teachers . . . must be addressed’

Some backed teachers’ pay deal as step in right direction, others found it grossly unfair

Pay deal: some teachers feel the proposed deal did not address the issue of lower pay rates for recently recruited teachers. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Pay deal: some teachers feel the proposed deal did not address the issue of lower pay rates for recently recruited teachers. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

 

‘Banks and developers caused the crisis but teachers and other public servants paid a high price’ – Dr John Walsh, lecturer

Dr John Walsh, a lecturer at the school of education at Trinity College Dublin, said he voted for the new pay agreement because it delivered the first positive moves on pay restoration and began the reversal of austerity and pay cuts imposed in 2008.

He said the overall trajectory was in the right direction.

However, “the disgraceful treatment of new teachers who are expected to work for inferior pay was not dealt with and must be addressed urgently”, he said.

“I won’t be voting for any subsequent agreement unless this is done.”

Dr Walsh, who is a member of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, said the Government now has a responsibility to address continuing inequalities in pay and conditions for public servants.

“Nobody should forget that it was banks and developers that caused the economic crisis but teachers, researchers and other public servants paid a high price,” he said.

“Another factor that influenced my vote was the commitment that the Workplace Relations Commission and the Education Oversight Body would start to address the precarious position for fixed-term and casual staff, which has always been a problem.

“Article 1.4 of the agreement also places a clear obligation on public sector management to progress gender-equality issues, specifically that management in each sector will . . . establish mechanisms to monitor progress in relation to gender balance in career progression.”

‘It is grossly unfair to have teachers working side-by-side and being paid different rates of pay’ – Kieran Tummon, teacher

Kieran Tummon, who is a teacher in Clontarf in Dublin and a member of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland, said he voted against the proposed deal as it did not address the issue of lower pay rates for recently recruited teachers.

He said it was grossly unfair to have teachers working side-by-side, doing the same job and being paid different rates of pay.

He said this was negatively affecting morale in school staffrooms.

Mr Tummon said progress had been made in addressing the two-tier pay issue during the lifespan of the first Lansdowne Road agreement. He said the TUI had hoped to build on this.

However, he said if his union had accepted the proposed new deal it would have effectively blocked further progress being made on the new entrant teacher pay issue for three more years.

The TUI voted to reject the pay deal by a margin of 87 per cent to 13 per cent in a national ballot.