Wednesday 18 September 2019

Teacher unions lining up demands for pay rise

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Katherine Donnelly, Ralph Riegel and Anne Marie Walsh

Teacher unions are lining up their demands for a pay rise, now that their nine year battle over two tier salary scales appears to be moving into its final phase.

Union leaders today made clear that following progress made on reversal of cuts, they are ready to pursue their first cost-of-living increase since before the financial crash.

They are putting it on the agenda for talks on the next public service pay agreement, to succeed the PSSA, which expires in December 2020.

Teachers won’t be alone on this, as all public service unions will have similar demands

Speaking at Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) annual conference incoming general secretary John Boyle teachers had not received a pay rise since 2007.

He said by the end of 2020, it would be 14 years, a period during which inflation had increased by 7pc, while teachers have endured substantial pay cuts and the loss of allowances.

Mr Boyle was speaking directly to Education Minister Joe McHugh who addressed the conference earlier.

He said “the incomes of teachers have simply failed to match the rising costs of living in that time.  We will be demanding that all teachers receive a well-earned pay rise.”

Mr Boyle noted that the Central Bank was predicting wage growth of 7pc across the economy in the coming year.

Meanwhile Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) general secretary John MacGabhann echoed the same theme in his opening address to the union conference.

“Our ambition in respect of pay does not end with pay equality. Teachers generally need a pay rise, as do other workers. Our economy is not in recession. It is growing. Living costs are increasing”

He said the next pay negotiations must provide significant pay increases and the general election that may well precede those negotiations must be used to secure the commitment of political parties to such increases.

Mr MacGabhann said, in the first instance, the matter would be considered jointly by the three teacher unions.

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