Tuesday 21 November 2017

Young teacher's maximum mortgage allowed her to buy 'ruin in Co Leitrim'

Photo: PA
Photo: PA
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A young primary school teacher on austerity-era lower pay rates was told recently that the maximum mortgage she could get on her current salary was €65,000.

When Orla Ni Fhoghlu (28) checked what she could buy for that, she said she “found a ruin in Co Leitrim”, of little use to a teacher working in Dublin.

Ms Ni Fhoglu, who teaches in a Gaelscoil in Harold’s Cross, was one of a number of young teachers who spoke passionately at the annual conference of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) today about the impact of reduced salary scales on their lives.

She says she is now considering a career break to go teaching abroad so that she can accumulate the money she needs to buy a house.

Ms Ni Fhoglu said the budgeting she needed to do on her salary also meant she could only afford to pay her car tax on a three monthly basis.

The lower rates introduced in 2011 for public servants, means that new teachers will be down about €100,000 over a career, when compared with what pre-2011 teachers will earn.

Ms Ni Fhoghliu, like other delegates, said the two-tier pay scale made her feel unequal.

“I am the only one on the staff on it, I teach the same curriculum, pupils from the same families as my colleagues, I teach the school choir, I take part in Cumann na nBuncoil, but I don’t get paid the same.”

Ending the two-tier pay system is a dominant theme at the INTO conference, which today passed a motion demanding immediate negotiations on pay equalisation.

INTO general secretary Sheila Nuan said the attack on the pay of young workers including new teachers was “one part of the enormous price paid by Irish citizens for that grubby deal devised by Fianna Fail  and implemented by Fine Gael/Labour.

“Young workers in particular paid the price for the lunacy of the banks and the government’s mismanagement of the crisis through lower salaries, reduced employment opportunities, inferior pension schemes and shameful, so called employment schemes like JobBridge.”

She said a new government wishing to draw a line under what had happened to date must declare an end to austerity for the next generation.

“A new government cannot defend separate salary scales for teachers doing the same work. Discriminatory and inequitable pay scales for new teachers will erode morale, sap good will and breed discontent and resentment. “

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