Saturday 19 October 2019

Teachers’ Union of Ireland votes overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in row over pay equality

Pressure on front line: Education Minister Joe McHugh speaking at a Budget 2020 press conference in Dublin. Picture: Collins
Pressure on front line: Education Minister Joe McHugh speaking at a Budget 2020 press conference in Dublin. Picture: Collins
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

THE Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has voted overwhelmingly, by 92pc-8pc, to take action up to and including strike, to bring its long running campaign on pay equality to an end.

However, there is no immediate threat and the decision amounts to a refresh of a two year old mandate for industrial action on the issue.

All three teachers unions are pursuing a restoration of full pay equality for all teachers, arising from cuts imposed in the austerity era.

While much of the pay gap between teachers employed before and after January 1 2011 has been closed, differences remain, particularly in the early years of employment

TUI president Seamus Lahart said new entrants to second level teaching were earning 14pc less on initial appointment and 10pc less in the first 10 years than they would have before the introduction of cutbacks.

“Yet again this year, a new cohort of teachers has entered the profession being paid at a lesser rate than their longer-serving colleagues for carrying out the same work,” he said.

He said while progress has been made in the campaign, “our members have run out of patience with the Government’s failure or unwillingness to complete the process of pay equalisation.”

Mr Lahart called on Education Minister Joe McHugh “to engage constructively with us.”

Earlier this year, Mr McHugh promised a review on the outstanding pay equality issue, but nothing concrete has emerged .

Mr Lahart said “politicians across the political spectrum, including those in Government, have spoken of their commitment to restoring the principle of equal pay for equal work. This has yet to be translated into practical action. With a general election in the offing, members of TUI will be making this a key issue.”

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