independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Teachers may accept new pay deal

Viewers tuned in to Morning Ireland were forced to do a double take when newsreader Susan Jackson delivered the headlines in a hoodie
Sheila Nunan of INTO

THE COUNTRY'S largest teachers' union has recommended accepting a revised pay deal under the Croke Park II talks.

The leaders of the Irish National Teacher' Organisation (INTO) will ask its 32,000 members to back the new arrangements, agreed after a second round of negotiations.

General secretary Sheila Nunan said it was the clear view of the executive that the new proposals were better than the Government's alternative proposals.

She said they were "better than what was previously available and offered more protection to teachers and their families than the Government's alternatives for public service pay."

Ms Nunan said a permanent pay cut and a three year increment freeze would have a far worse impact on earnings.

"Recommendation of acceptance is not an endorsement but an opinion that it is the better of two alternatives," she said.

Among the revisions are a promised alleviation on the proposal to abolish supervision and substitution allowances for all teachers. Under the new proposals the payment will be reinstated in two phases in 2016 and the following year.

They also include a reduction in when teachers are expected to provide cover for absent colleagues while all certified sick leave will be covered as will bereavement leave.

The INTO said potential gains in the original proposals have been fully retained such as the improved scales for newly qualified teachers.

The union also said it had made progress on the payment of increments to teachers earning more than 65,000 euro and a commitment has been given on restoration of salary cuts.

Amid the second round of Croke Park II pay talks, public servants have been warned they face compulsory redundancies unless they accept a new deal on cuts in pay and pensions.

They are designed to bring in 300m euro in savings this year and a billion by 2015.

Industrial relations mediators have been battling to broker a deal for several weeks, with teachers' unions among the last of the unions who rejected the first set of proposals to attempt to strike a new deal.

Some of the measures in the revised package include nurses working longer hours, pay cuts of up to 8% for those earning more than 65,000 euro and changes to teachers losing supervision and substitution payments.

It is understood most unions have been shown legislation which will pave the way for pay and pension cuts for high earners as well as other measures to enable the Government to achieve its savings if the proposals are rejected by workers.

Unions who voted against the original Croke Park II deal include Unite, Siptu, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (Asti), the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), the Irish Medial Organisation (IMO) and the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU).

The INTO and other teachers' unions, the Teachers' Union of Ireland and the Association of Secondary Teachers' of Ireland have voted for industrial action, up to and including strikes, if the Government moves unilaterally to cut pay or worsen conditions.

Siptu said its national executive council will convene on Thursday to consider proposals for health and nursing staff, who will keep Sunday double time payments.

Proposals agreed by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) will be put to members within weeks and include a commitment to comply with the European working time directive by the end of next year.

Press Association

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