Teachers are working in McDonalds to 'shore up pay', claims union leader
TEACHERS are working in McDonald's at night to shore up their pay because of inadequate contracts and "casualisation" of the job, a former union president has claimed.
The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) feels it is now "nearly time" to start making pay claims, given the apparent signs of economic recovery.
A number of motions were put forward at the TUI annual congress yesterday calling for pay to be restored to the levels they were at before the Croke Park Agreement and Haddington Road Agreement.
Many teachers railed against "casualisation", which has seen increasing numbers of teachers forced to work for whatever reduced hours they can get each week.
Former TUI president Bernie Ruane said: "Look in there [McDonald's] some evening and you'll see our teachers working in there at night, simply because they haven't got decent contracts. What we want, delegates, from now on is fair play. We want back the money that was taken from us.
"Our great Government is now telling us, things are on the up and up. We can all be optimistic. If you're stuck for a few quid, sure give Enda a ring. He'll answer you. I think it's high time now that we stopped being the whipping boys and girls for this Government and look to get back what is rightfully ours."
Speaking afterwards, Ms Ruane said 36pc of the TUI membership had less than full-time hours.
"There are teachers on six or eight-hour contracts now and they could be on those for up to four years."
This means they would only be earning about €9,000 gross a year for teaching.
"A lot of people do not get jobs in their own localities which means they have to have money to buy cars and pay for digs so they have no option but to work in places like McDonald's or bars or restaurants or babysitting. It's a very common practice."
Many of these teachers were newly and highly-qualified, she said. Ms Ruane warned they would end up being headhunted by the private sector, to the detriment of the profession and eventually students, who would lack continuity.
She added: "It's not viable. You couldn't earn a living. You couldn't get a mortgage. A lot of people we get in Dublin tell us their parents are paying their rent."