Wednesday 24 October 2018

Teachers pay parity protest

Pay equality protest at Balbriggan Community College.
Pay equality protest at Balbriggan Community College.

John Manning

Members of the TUI (Teachers' Union of Ireland) at Balbriggan Community College staged a lunchtime protest last Thursday to register their opposition to what they called 'the severe damage being inflicted on teacher morale and the education service by pay inequality'.

Service to students was not affected by the protests, which took place at lunchtime outside Balbriggan Community College and several other schools where TUI members are employed.

Teachers and lecturers who entered the profession since 2011 are paid at a lower rate than their colleagues for carrying out the same work, according to the union.

Speaking at the Balbriggan protest, member of staff at Balbriggan Community College and TUI representative, Ann Mannion said: 'It is unacceptable that one teacher be paid less than another for carrying out the same work. Pay discrimination has completely undermined the profession and has had a devastating impact on morale in staff rooms.'

Ms Mannion added: 'Unsurprisingly, it has also led to a crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers, which inevitably impairs the quality of service to students in terms of subject choice and consistency of provision.'

The Balbriggan Community College staff member said: 'Irrespective of whether they are personally affected by pay inequality, TUI members are completely united in demanding its end as a matter of urgency.

'The evidence of this growing crisis can no longer be ignored, denied or downplayed.'

According to the TUI, there has been a 62% 'collapse' in applications for post-primary teacher training courses since 2011, while a TUI survey in 2017 showed that 29% of new or recent entrants to the profession did not see themselves in the job in ten years' time.

In addition, there has been a fivefold rise in the emigration rate of second level teaching graduates, the union said.

Ms Mannion said: 'Recruitment difficulties are evident both across the country and across a broad range of subjects including Mathematics, Science, Modern Languages, Irish and Home Economics, and the list of affected subject areas will lengthen if the situation is not remedied.

'The reputation and the high quality of the country's education system is at stake here, and short-term, short-sighted, 'sticking plaster' fixes will not work.'

She concluded: 'The only guaranteed way of ensuring the retention of teachers and the recruitment of those needed for the future is to repair the integrity of teaching by restoring pay equality.' 

On the day that Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) members around the country hold lunchtime protests over pay inequality, TUI President Joanne Irwin warned that the situation will get much worse unless pay parity is restored.

Fingal Independent