Two-tier public pay system

 

A chara, – The Government proposal in relation to “new entrant” public servants will not as your headline suggests “end the two-tier public pay system” (News, September 24th). Rather it will institutionalise unequal pay and ensure those who enter the public service in future will be treated much less favourably than those who came in prior to 2011.

The TUI, of which I am a member, and other teacher unions have campaigned for equal pay now. This has not been achieved. These proposals will ensure that all new entrants to the public sector will have starting salaries far below those who started prior to 2011: in the case of a second-level teacher, the gap is €4,339, based on current pay levels. For a lecturer in an institute of technology, the gap is €4,011. By the time this lecturer reaches the top of the entry grade, assistant lecturer, they will have lost €14,674. The second-level teacher will lose €22,395 over the first 10 years of their career. And that does not take account of the fact that prior to 2011 teachers started on the third point of their scale. When that is factored in, the loss amounts to €51,564. A major contributor to this loss is the failure of the unions to secure the reinstatement of the higher diploma (H Dip) allowance.

This is an outrage and it is quite unacceptable for representatives of Forsa to claim that “the new measures will mean that public servants will no longer be at a long-term disadvantage based on the year in which they were recruited”. This is simply not the case. Young teachers recruited tomorrow, facing exorbitant housing costs, will be significantly out of pocket in comparison to those recruited prior to 2011.

This deal tries to buy off serving new entrants by allowing them to jump incremental points four and eight. Unfortunately many new entrants below the third point, 25,803 (42 per cent of all new entrants), will get nothing from this deal next year, and 13, 782 (22 per cent) will get nothing in 2020. It will be many years before they catch up with their pre-2011 colleagues.

There is a bigger problem with this approach. The Government, and some trade union leaders, are asking serving new entrants to take the money and leave new entrants in the future to suffer the indignity of lower entry pay. It is this approach which led to the current situation. Trade union leaders looked to guarantee the pay of serving members while leaving those who might enter the service in the future to the ravages of Government policies. It can no longer be acceptable that unions should only protect those currently in membership without any regard to those who will follow in the future. Any trade union leaders who would propose that members accept these proposals is lacking any moral compass and effectively supporting a policy of suppressing entry pay for new public servants. One effect of this is that key public services will continue to struggle to recruit and retain suitably qualified staff.

Any trade unionist who takes seriously the idea that an injury to one is an injury to all must campaign to reject these proposals. – Is mise,

EDDIE CONLON,

TUI Grassroots,

Dublin 7.