Thursday 22 August 2019

Pay rises must have no strings attached, say teachers

John MacGabhann, General Secretary of the TUI speaks
John MacGabhann, General Secretary of the TUI speaks
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Teachers are insisting that their next pay rises come with no strings attached.

With talks starting soon on the first pay increases for public servants since the before the crash, the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) says any increase in income should come without productivity conditions.

TUI general secretary John MacGabhann told his union's annual conference that this was their "clear position" ahead of talks between the Irish Congress of Trades Unions (Ictu) and Government officials,

The pent-up demand for a reversal of pay and pension cuts was clear in debates at the conference yesterday.

For many young teachers, reduced starting rates are compounded by a growing trend towards casualisation in the profession.

Mr MacGabhann spoke of a recent case where a single job was split three ways in order to have three entrant teachers, two of whom were on under €10,000 each, while the third received marginally above €11,000.

Referring to recent moves on the pay front, Mr MacGabhann said that it appeared they were heading towards "some modest increases in income for public servants".

But he added: "You can be sure that, in advance of whatever eventuality emerges, we will be hectored and warned, advised that we must not expect too much."

The TUI general secretary drew parallels between efforts to dampen down the expectations of public servants, while also hearing "the sound of high spirits and levity as prodigal bankers and speculators are once more admitted to p olite society, soft forgiveness having come their way. We will be told that they now deserve our generosity, our understanding of their slight foibles".

But he said no such generosity or understanding would be directed towards those, including many teachers, whom "the inequality in society, the ravages of recession and the obscenity of poverty have pulverised".

Mr MacGabhann also said that the unions would necessarily be bound by the outcome of any aggregate of ballot results of public service unions arising from the talks.

Lunchtime protest planned for later this month

Teacher unions are keeping up their public campaign against the new-style Junior  Cert, with a lunchtime protest outside schools later this month.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) will picket outside class hours, so there will be no disruption to students.

TUI president Gerry Quinn said, at the union's annual conference, that "parents don't have to worry, we are not about disrupting the run in to the exams".

Unions want to send a signal of their continued opposition, in the face of the move by Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan to push ahead with plans without their agreement.

Teacher training is due to resume next week, despite union directives banning co-operation with work linked to the changes.The unions will also picket the training seminars.

Irish Independent

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