Saturday 17 August 2019

Demand for 30pc hike as exam pay is lower than minimum wage

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Ralph Riegel

Teachers have voted overwhelmingly to demand a 30pc increase in the rates of pay for those marking and supervising the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams.

Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) members voted to increase an enhanced pay request to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) from 20pc to 30pc.

The move came as ASTI members complained that those involved in the examination of the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert each summer are paid less than the minimum wage for their expert work.

ASTI member Jim Breslin warned that the SEC is finding it increasingly difficult to recruit teachers for superintendent and examiner duties because of the poor rates of pay.

Expenses have also been cut for teachers who have to travel to examination centres.

There has already been a reported shortage of examiners and superintendents for subjects such as home economics as teachers increasingly refuse to work for the derisory sums on offer.

"We are facing an impending catastrophe in the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert if we don't have enough superintendents and examiners," he said.

"The examiners and superintendents are pivotal in this."

ASTI delegate Pat Younger from Wexford warned examiners in areas such as economics are expected to effectively write-off the entire month of July due to the late timing of the exam and the short deadline for having papers marked.

Dublin teacher Eveline Holderick said €5.86 is paid per Junior Cert higher level French paper.

However, 56pc of this payment is then taken in tax and other costs.

"I do not get (paid) the minimum wage," she said.

The 96th annual conference in Cork heard that many teachers who for years undertook exam work in June now refuse to do so because the pay rates involved are so poor.

"The principle reason we do it (exam work) is to augment our miserable salaries," Mr Breslin said.

ASTI delegate Dermot Brennan warned that better exam pay rates were now vital to "incentivise teachers" for vital exam work.

Noel Hogan, a teacher based in Monaghan, said the problem was now apparent from how difficult it was proving to recruit examiners and superintendents.

He said when he started exam work he was getting around 300 Junior Cert papers to check.

Now that has soared to almost 500 exam scripts.

"The work is increasing because less teachers are now doing it - it is blood money."

Irish Independent

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