ASTI backs vote for industrial action over 'appalling' pay inequalities
Secondary school teachers backed a vote for industrial action as they warned that different pay scales are destroying their profession.
Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) members voted overwhelmingly to seek sanction for industrial action from September, if the Department of Education does not make pay scale concessions.
The ASTI has now set an August 31 deadline for a resolution to the crisis over three different pay scales within the teaching profession.
The vote in favour of a ballot for industrial action came as ASTI members expressed outrage at the estimated earnings differential of as much as €250,000 between teachers on the lowest and highest pay scales over the course of a 40-year working career.
Teachers who entered the profession before 2010 now have a €9,000 pay differential over post-2011 recruits.
Motions demanding the restoration of pay scales and sanctioning a ballot on industrial action dominated the opening of the three-day ASTI annual conference in Cork.
Four ASTI branches - Bray, Dublin South Central, Wicklow and Fingal - tabled motions demanding the restoration of the pre-2011 basic pay scale.
ASTI Bray branch's Michael Browne said it was unacceptable that teachers recruited post-2012 earned 22pc less than pre-2010 recruits.
"This is going to have far-reaching consequences for the sector," he said.
ASTI Tipperary delegate Siobhan Peters, who is on the post-2011 pay scales, said young teachers desperately needed support.
"There is nothing more disheartening than working in a job and earning less than someone else," she said.
ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie said it was an intolerable situation.
"There are three pay scales in some staff rooms and it is causing increasing problems across the industry," he said.
ASTI president Máire Ní Chiarba described it as blatant exploitation.
"The discrimination against newly qualified teachers is so blatant... what an appalling situation currently exists where teachers are working on three different pay scales. What a disgrace. What discrimination and what inequity."
Incoming ASTI President Ed Byrne warned it was "a wound that now cannot be allowed to fester".
One young teacher said the differing pay scales were very unfair on new entrants.
"I am one of the lucky ones because I have a permanent job. But if I had entered the profession just two or three years earlier, I would have had a better basic salary as well as several extra allowances," Cork teacher Hugh Coughlan said.