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Friday 22 August 2014

Thousands of teachers hit in pocket as increment freeze begins

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

Published 29/06/2013 | 05:00

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THOUSANDS of second-level teachers and university lecturers face losing their increments from next week because they haven't accepted the Haddington Road deal.

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The harsh reality is brought home in circulars issued by the Department of Education in recent days.

Incremental progression will be suspended for three years with effect from July 1 for those who have not signed up to Haddington Road, the department has advised.

This is provided for in the legislation that the Government pushed through to ensure they could impose pay cuts in the absence of agreement on a deal.

About 20,000 second-level teachers as well as university lectures are eligible for an annual increase, payable on the anniversary of their appointment.

Because of the academic year, it is likely that most increments would have been due in September and October.

Unions that have accepted Haddington Road are subject to less severe arrangements in relation to increments and the squeeze varies according to salary level.

Staff on salaries below €35,000 are facing one three-month increment freeze, those on between €35,000 and €65,000 will suffer two three-month increment freezes and those on €65,000 or more will have two six-month freezes.

Unlike second-level teachers and university lecturers, primary teachers, members of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), have voted on, and accepted Haddington Road.

Second-level teachers were left exposed to the rigours of the legislation when they decided not to ballot on the deal.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) initially said they did not accept the Haddington Road proposals as a final offer.

However, last week the leaderships of the two unions decided to go ahead with ballots, but because of the school holidays, they cannot take place until September.

Neither of the unions has given an indication yet as to what recommendation, if any, they will issue to members on the vote.

BALLOT

Members of both unions had previously endorsed industrial action in the event of imposed cuts, but that threat has been lifted with the belated decision to ballot.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT), representing lecturers, has not yet put the Haddington Road deal out to ballot either.

The IFUT executive is meeting on July 11, when ballot dates will be agreed.

The executive previously decided to urge a No vote, but a final decision on what recommendation, if any, to make will be taken on July 11.

Irish Independent

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