Union chief keeps top pay as teachers suffer
€158,000 for TUI boss, members take 14pc cut
Published 06/05/2011 | 07:27
A HIGHLY paid teacher union leader who earns up to €158,000 a year has not taken a pay cut, although thousands of his members have had their salaries slashed.
The 15,800 rank-and-file teachers who are members of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) have endured a 14pc pay cut in the past two years.
But its general secretary Peter McMenamin's pay remains the same -- even though it is linked to a grade in the civil service that has also been hit by a pay cut.
Mr McMenamin refused to comment last night on why he is still on the old pre-pay-cut salary level -- and refused to reveal exactly what he is paid.
His union would only say that his pay scale ranges from €131,748 to €158,644.
The pay of officials in the teaching and lecturing unions is funded through subscriptions from members.
These subscriptions are usually deducted from salaries at source, by the Department of Education and Skills.
The revelation about Mr McMenamin's pay comes as more than half the 23 public sector union leaders refused to disclose how much they were being paid.
But it has emerged that none of the other senior TUI officials -- among the unions most resistant to public sector reforms outlined in the Croke Park Agreement -- have taken a pay cut.
In stark contrast, senior members of the INTO teaching union have taken a cut.
INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan, whose pay is also based on the same assistant secretary grade as Mr McMenamin's, revealed she had taken a pay cut. However, her potential earnings remain around €153,885.
The TUI, which only recently backed the Croke Park deal, defended its decision not to cut the pay of officials at head office in the wake of the last Government's pension levy and pay cut.
The wages of more than 300,000 public servants were slashed by an average 14pc.
TUI president Bernie Ruane said: "Both TUI's annual congress last year and the union's executive committee decided that head office staff would not have their pay cut.
"The union opposes pay cuts for anybody and accordingly refused to make cuts to the salaries of its own staff."
The motion put forward by delegates at the TUI conference, which was defeated, called for pay cuts to ensure membership and employees of the union were "treated equally".
Many unions who would not reveal pay details have been most resistant to the Croke Park agreement, including university teacher union IFUT, which has still not backed the deal.
Teacher unions, including the TUI, only recently agreed to work extra hours that were due to commence at the start of the last school year.
Others, including the AHCPS, would not give pay figures and would only refer to the public sector pay grades their leaders' wages are linked to.
General secretary of the Public Service Executive Union, Tom Geraghty, whose union represents 11,250 mid-ranking civil servants, said he regarded questions about his pay "intrusive prurience".
The Garda Representative Association said that its leader's salary was "personal information".
General secretary of the largest dedicated public sector union, IMPACT, Shay Cody, would not give details of his current pay but did reveal he had taken a pay cut.
His spokesperson said his pay was no longer linked to the pay of the Cork county manager, which stood at €171,313 in 2009.
He said Mr Cody had taken a voluntary pay cut and waived a portion of his salary on appointment, and also declined a public sector pay award.
Construction union BATU, which has up to 500 public sector members, said officials' pay had dropped by 40pc in the last two years but would not say what general secretary Paddy O'Shaughnessy's pay was.
However, other unions were more open about their leaders' wages.
They included SIPTU, where staff took a 5pc pay cut while national officers took a 10pc pay cut, bringing general president Jack O'Connor's basic pay down to €112,000 a year.
The survey also reveals huge discrepancies in what unions pay their leaders.
For example, the head of the small trade union, OPATSI, is paid around €45,000 -- less than a third of what some teachers' representatives get.
Jimmy Kelly, head of UNITE, which has 60,000 public and private sector members, earns €60,000 a year, while PDFORRA leader, Gerry Rooney, with 8,000 members, earns €96,000.
Meanwhile, employer body IBEC refused to give details of its director general Danny McCoy's pay.