Monday 11 December 2017

Primary teachers reject new public service pay agreement by overwhelming majority

Sheila Nunan of INTO Picture: Mark Condren
Sheila Nunan of INTO Picture: Mark Condren
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has rejected the new public service pay agreement by an overwhelming 89 to 11 per cent majority.

The result is in line with the advice of the primary teacher union’s executive, which sought a rejection because the deal is not bringing about an end to two-tier pay rates.

Some 53pc of the union’s members voted.

Pay for new entrants is a major issue for the teaching unions because of the high level of recruitment of teachers, to cope with rising enrolments, since lower rates were introduced in 2011 and 2012.

The INTO is the first of the teacher unions to ballot on the successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA), and it is likely that the other two unions will also vote no.

The outcome is a setback for hopes of bedding down the deal because the INTO one of the biggest unions and has tended to be an early adopter of pay agreements in recent years.

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said the result showed clearly that the terms of the agreement were unacceptable to the vast majority of primary teachers.

“The proposed agreement does not progress the issue of pay equality imposed by government on new entrant teachers.

“While progress was made in recent years on pay equality this was not continued in the recent pay talks. There was an opportunity to draw a line under discrimination and right a wrong imposed on new entrant teachers. The proposed agreement does not signal an end to pay inequality.”

She also said principal teachers at primary level had been waiting more than 10 years for the payment of benchmarking to reduce inequality between primary and post-primary principals. “The proposed agreement offers little prospect of delivery on this within the lifetime of the agreement."

“For the INTO, the recent talks were about pay restoration, pay equality, the protection of pensions and the payment of principals’ benchmarking.  While there has been some progress, on a number of key issues for the INTO there has not been enough progress.”

The INTO executive will consider the outcome of the ballot next month,.

The second biggest union in the public service,  Impact, which has recommended acceptance, is the next to deliver a verdict, with its ballot result is due on Monday.

Meanwhile, the executive of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) has today voted unanimously to recommend acceptance of the proposals on the new pay agreement.

The proposals will be put to a ballot of IFUT membership, likely to conclude in the second week of September.

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