Saturday 10 December 2016

TUI chief claims young teachers are being treated as 'galley slaves'

Published 30/03/2016 | 02:30

Heather MacCarthy and Maura Curtin from the Co Limerick
branch at the TUI conference. Photo: Don MacMonagle
Heather MacCarthy and Maura Curtin from the Co Limerick branch at the TUI conference. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Teachers who entered employment in the last four years are being treated as "galley slaves", John MacGabhann, the general secretary of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), has claimed.

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Mr MacGabhann said that teachers who entered the profession since 2012, on lower pay than their predecessors, are being forced to "moonlight" or emigrate.

He said that securing parity of payment was a "moral imperative".

Mr MacGabhann said the issue of impoverishing teachers was inevitably connected to the quality of service to students.

"Teachers who are subject to very high standards in terms of professional performance cannot afford rents, are being forced by poverty to give up part-time jobs, to emigrate, to moonlight."

He warned there would be an "incalculable cost" for society if "Government action created a disaffected, angry, impoverished teaching force".

"They cannot plan, have no credit worthiness, and have their personal independence compromised because Government marked them out for especially punitive treatment and because employers treat them as galley slaves."

Maitiu de Hal (29) qualified in 2008 and says he's in a better position than younger colleagues who entered the profession after 2012. Just a few years separate him from newer entrants on the staff at Coláiste de hÍde in Tallaght.

Yet the TUI estimates that over the course of his 40-year career, in salary and pension entitlements he can expect to earn €300,000 more than them.

The History and Irish teacher has a contract of indefinite duration (CID), which he says is the "next best thing" to a permanent post.

Crucially, he has 22 hours a week and is paid at the old rate before cuts by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform came into effect in 2012.

"We teach the same kids, we do the same work, we pay the same rent and the same petrol but it's grossly unfair," he said.

"Not only are they being paid less, but they've also fewer hours and it is very hard to survive, particularly in Dublin, on 16 or 17 hours a week on that reduced rate."

Kerry native Mairead Glenn (33), who teaches Science and Maths at Tallaght Community School, says disparity in pay is forcing some of her colleagues to move back in with their parents or into long commutes.

"In some cases, they're afraid to speak out because they fear the repercussions within their schools."

TUI president Gerry Quinn said for the first time, membership of the union had exceeded 15,000, and income poverty would not be tolerated.

Irish Independent

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