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Pay equality for teachers to buy peace in schools will cost at least €70m a year

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School classroom. Stock picture

School classroom. Stock picture

School classroom. Stock picture

Delivering pay equality for teachers will cost at least €70m a year.

The new government will have to make that commitment to avoid more strikes.

The costing, which was prepared by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, will grow as more teachers are recruited.

In 2018, there were 16,000 teachers on lower pay scales but the figure is 18,231 and rising.

All political parties have committed to pay equality for teachers, but not all have committed to a figure.

Fine Gael's promise of a €2bn public sector pay deal includes "sorting out" the teacher issue, according to Education Minister Joe McHugh. The cost of any new pay agreement is about €400m a year, so €2bn would allow enough to settle the teachers' dispute.

Fianna Fáil has not put a figure on its financial commitment to public sector pay but says it has a "buffer" of €1.2bn.

Based on earlier Department of Finance costings, Labour has promised €58m a year for teachers, which would need to be updated to take account of the most recent estimates, which put the annual cost at more than €70m.

Labour has an unallocated amount of €3bn over five years and says the public pay deal would be funded from that amount.

Sinn Féin says it has almost €1bn for a pay deal and would "end the two- tier pay system by the end of 2021".

Irish Independent