Two-tier post-primary pay gap will be narrowed with return of allowance

The allowance is worth about €1,341 a year. Photo: Stock image

Katherine Donnelly

Post-primary teachers recruited since 2010 will have a key allowance restored that was withdrawn at the height of austerity a decade ago.

The allowance is worth about €1,341 a year, and its abolition in 2012 was a key contributor to two-tier pay scales.

Both second-level teacher unions, TUI and ASTI, have agreed that restoration of the Postgraduate Masters in Education (PME) allowance, formerly the HDip allowance, should take precedence over payment of a 1pc increase to teachers generally.

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

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

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

The agreement included a pay rise for teachers due from February this year – the equivalent of a general 1pc salary increase – and the unions could use that to address specific issues.

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

ASTI president Eamon Dennehy said the agreement on the allowance “means 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”.

TUI general secretary Michael Gillespie said his union wanted to use €5m from the fund to address another austerity era decision and return to starting teachers on the third point of their pay scale, rather than the first.

He said if this was also dealt with, the issue of unequal pay for post-primary teachers would be resolved for the TUI.