'Parents understand why we're protesting - and they support what we are doing'
ASTI members on picket line duty warned they will continue to strike until they achieve equality with their colleagues.
Teachers took industrial action yesterday and they insisted they were receiving staunch support from parents and students alike.
With six further days of strikes looming, teachers say they have been left with no choice but to strike.
"The mood among teachers is one of determination - people are absolutely committed to equal pay for equal work," Dave Costello, a teacher at Coláiste Choilm in Ballincollig, Cork said.
"We have also been greatly heartened by the support we have received from parents.
"They understand why we are protesting and they support what we are doing," he added.
Kevin Wall of Deerpark CBS, Cork said teachers found the pay differential between new and older teachers to be "absolutely soul-destroying".
"We have been forced into this. A lot of young teachers are looking for scraps (of work) - four hours, six hours just trying to pick up a few quid. It is also a bit hypocritical - we go into the classroom and we are promoting equality for children. But we have inequality (in pay) in our own staff rooms," he said.
The mood on the picket line was one of quiet confidence - though some teachers privately admitted they were worried at the prospect of further school closure days.
"To be honest, I think everyone was hoping that the talks would deliver a resolution and that this protest wouldn't be necessary," one teacher at Coláiste Chríost Ri said.
This was echoed in the capital as one teacher from Dominican College in Drumcondra revealed that she thought the dispute would be "well sorted" by now.
Noelle Ní Mhuirí (24) said it would be students who would suffer due to the action if the Government did not move to meet the union's demands.
"I'm very concerned about what is going to happen after the mid-term. I don't want to lose the time with my students - and I have first years right up to Leaving Certs - at the end of the day it is the students who are going to suffer," she said.
"They're going to have work hard to catch up with all the work, I'm missing work. I'm out here because we're not getting the same pay that everyone else started out on... what I find ironic is if the Government think it's so crucial to the economic recovery why aren't new TDs and ministers starting off on lower pay scale, just like us?"
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