Saturday 20 October 2018

Teacher pay inequality a 'public scandal' and won't be tolerated, union warns

Talks are due to get underway on April 27

ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie stressed that the union's longstanding battle against varying pay scales within the teaching profession will continue
ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie stressed that the union's longstanding battle against varying pay scales within the teaching profession will continue

Rakph Riegel and Katherine Donnelly

THE ASTI warned the Government that pay inequality is now "a public scandal" which cannot and will not be tolerated.

ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie stressed that the union's longstanding battle against varying pay scales within the teaching profession will continue - and has now been boosted by the stance of fellow teacher unions, the INTO and TUI.

"We will not stop until the discriminatory treatment of post 2010 teachers is put to an end," he told the ASTI's 96th annual Cork conference.

"While some progress has been achieved on the issue an unacceptable gap remains."

"Teachers who are five and six years teaching have already lost out significantly in terms of their pay."

"It is a public scandal and we can never let up until it is fully addressed."

The ASTI general secretary said the stance of the INTO and TUI was hugely significant.

"It was pleasing that the INTO and TUI rejected the (Public Service Stability Agreement) for largely the same reason."

"This provided a springboard by which we have since been able to vigorously pursue equal pay for equal work along with our sister unions."

Mr Christie said the impact of the pay inequality and allowance cuts has been "unconscionable".

"It may be that it will take a course of industrial action by all three teacher unions to have this out, once and for all."

"I believe we won't have to wait much longer to find out - yesterday (ASTI delegates) built on the work that has been going on all year, making it clear that if no resolution emerges industrial action will follow."

"And follow it must."

Education Minister Richard Bruton confirmed that talks about talking pay inequality will commence on April 27.

However, the ASTI, TUI and INTO have warned that they require significant progress on a pathway to pay restoration to be agreed by early May.

Failing that, it is expected that 800,000 Irish primary and secondary school students will face strike action by 70,000 teachers over pay from September.

Education Minister Richard Bruton faced another pay protest when he attended his third and final teachers’ conference today.

The minister  was briefly heckled with shouts of “equal pay now” from the back of the hall after an address to delegates at the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI).

Earlier, during his speech, a number of delegates held aloft equal pay placards, and, in her response to Mr Bruton, TUI president Joanne Irwin read out a list of names of union members on lowers scales, who stood up to identify themselves

She said teachers were resolute on the matter of achieving equal pay, bringing all delegates to their feet to endorse her comments in loud and sustained applause.

Mr Bruton, who is now facing the prospect of teacher strikes in the autumn if equal pay is not conceded, did not go beyond what he told other conferences, that teachers had a “justifiable  demand”.

He said there was a “clear commitment in Government to make progress and hope discussions will be fruitful”  but he did not indicate what he meant by “fruitful”.

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