Members of Teachers Union of Ireland are picking outside a number of local schools and Dundalk Institute of Technology today (Tuesday) in protest over pay discrimination.
Today's strike action comes about after talks on Friday involving the public service agreement oversight group and the union failed to produce any progress
The dispute has been going on since 2010 when the Government unilaterally introduced a reduced pay scale which saw newly qualified teachers earning less than their colleagues who had qualified before them. Teaching Unions campaigned against the discriminatory pay scale, highlighting it equated to a pay cut in excess of €50,000 over the first 10 years of a new recruit's career.
TUI President Seamus Lahart said 'We have exhausted every avenue open to us to bring this matter to resolutionand have been left with no choice but to take strike action over the ongoing scandal of pay discrimination.'
In October 2019, TUI members voted by a margin of 92% to 8% to engage in a campaign of industrial action demanding the Government immediately return all members to the agreed pay scale, with the Union announcing in November that it would take strike action in February unless the matter was resolved. The TUI President stated in conclusion 'We are making it clear today that our campaign will continue until pay discrimination has been eliminated. Discrimination has no place in our schools. Paying colleagues different rates for carrying out the same work is morally wrong.'
Locally the strike will see TUI Members picketing at O'Fiaich College & Institute of Further Education and the Dundalk Institute of Technology.
Local post-primary schools are also affected by the strike. The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) members, the union has directed its members not to provide cover for striking TUI colleagues. This has forced the closure of some voluntary secondary schools on health and safety grounds.