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Two-tier pay scales in post-primary teaching almost ended


Teachers’ Union of Ireland general secretary Michael Gillespie

Teachers’ Union of Ireland general secretary Michael Gillespie

Teachers’ Union of Ireland general secretary Michael Gillespie

Post primary teachers recruited since 2010 are to have a key allowance that was withdrawn at the height of the austerity era a decade ago restored.

The allowance is worth about €1,341 a year and its abolition in 2012 was a key factor in the creation of controversial two-tier pay scales in the teaching profession.

Formerly the HDip allowance, it is now the Postgraduate Masters in Education (PME) allowance and is paid  in recognition of the level of their qualification.

Both second-level teacher unions, the TUI and the ASTI, have agreed that restoration of the allowance should take precedence over payment of a 1pc increase to teachers generally.

Based on current number of teachers who are on the lower pay scales, the annual cost of restoring the allowance will be €15.5m.

The €15m is part of a €22m pot that was made available to second-level teacher unions to settle outstanding pay claims in the sector.

The current public sector pay deal, Building Momentum, allowed certain flexibility to unions in how the €22m should be distributed.

The agreement included a pay rise for teachers due from February 2022 - the financial equivalent to a general 1pc salary increase - and the unions could use that address a specific outstanding issues.

A total of six claims from the TUI and ASTI amounted €36m and the unions have to decide on a list to the value of €22m.

ASTI president Eamon Dennehy said the agreement on the PME allowance “means is that the majority of second-level teachers will forgo some of their pay in order to reduce the pay-gap experienced by those teachers on an inferior pay scale.

“It is deplorable that ordinary teachers have to use their pay to rectify a reckless government decision that has left second-level schools unable to recruit teachers across a range of subjects.”

TUI general secretary Michael Gillespie said his union also wanted to use a further €5m from the fund to restore full equality in pre-2010 and post-2010 pay scales.

This refers to another austerity era decision to start teachers on the first point of their pay scale, rather than the third point, which was previous practice.

Mr Gillespie said, as far as the TUI was concerned, if this was sorted, the issue of unequal pay for post-primary teachers would be resolved.

The management side has told unions that this cannot be agreed because the starting pay across the public service is at the minimum of the relevant scale.

The official said that meant it was a cross-sectoral issue and could not be dealt with in sectoral bargaining.

But Mr Gillespie said there were examples of other public servants starting at points above the minimum of their pay scales.

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