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Secondary teachers recommended to reject proposed public sector pay agreement by ASTI


Classrooms across Ireland will be empty until at least February 1. Photo: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

Classrooms across Ireland will be empty until at least February 1. Photo: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

Classrooms across Ireland will be empty until at least February 1. Photo: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

The Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) is recommending its members to reject the proposed public sector pay agreement.

It is the second teacher union to seek a “no” vote, following a similar move last month by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), which also represents post-primary teachers as well third-level lecturers

However, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) is urging acceptance of the new deal, Building Momentum.

Speaking after meeting of his union’s central executive council, ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie said that the proposed agreement did not achieve equal pay for post 2010 entrants to teaching.

He added that while the proposed agreement included “modest pay increases for teachers, it follows a 12-year period where teachers endured significant cuts to pay and increased work demands.

“In the past 10 months we have seen an unprecedented display of commitment, flexibility, hard work and agility across a range of civil and public services. During this time teachers and school leaders have worked tirelessly to support their students and to ensure their education continues.

“In this context it is scandalous to think that a significant proportion of these teachers are experiencing pay discrimination. These teachers have been denied equal pay for up to a decade.”

ASTI President Ann Piggott said they could not accept proposals “that involve a continuation of unequal pay for thousands of second-level teachers. Today’s decision demonstrates that ASTI members want to continue to stand up for lower-paid teachers.”

At the meeting, lower-paid teachers stated that they had experienced unequal pay for up to 10 years. Many are now in their 30s and 40s and have substantially reduced career earnings.

The ASTI ballot will take place in the coming weeks.

The split between the INTO and the two second-level unions can be explained by what ASTI and the TUI see as two areas of unfinished business arising from two-tier pay scales introduced at the height of the economic crash a decade ago, which have had a particular impact on their members.

One is for a return to a situation where their members start on the third point of the salary scale, rather than the first, in recognition of second- level teachers taking up to six years now to gain their qualification.

They are also seeking payment of the HDip/P ME allowance to those who started teaching after February 1, 2012.

The allowance, traditionally held by second- level teachers, was axed when allowances were cut for new entrants during the recession.

Between those two issues it is estimated that newer entrants to second- level teaching would be at a loss of up to €80,000 over a career compared with those recruited before 2011/12.

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