So here we are at the start of a new year – still fighting the inequalities that were imposed on younger teachers in 2011/2012.
Currently, teachers are paid according to three different pay-scales. Yup. Just because any colleague of mine that had the misfortune to take up a contract a few years later than I did he/she would receive less pay for the same work.
Not only that, he/she will not receive any allowance for achieving excellence in their degree. (and let’s not forget that instead of a H.Dip.Ed, new teachers need a Professional Masters in Education – 2 years in college, and all the extra expense that second year adds up to)
You may remember that last Easter the issue of different pay scales was raised at the various conferences of the Teacher Unions. The ASTI (of which I’m a member) gave a mandate that should the Government not address the issue of inequal pay by the end of August, then the union should take further action.
August is now behind us, and our newer colleagues still receive less pay for equal work.
The ASTI announced here that the union is to ballot members on taking strike action.
I’m proud that our union is taking this stand, and I will be more than happy to stand on the picket line to support my colleagues. (I know I’m assuming the result will be for a strike)
Yes, this will hit me in the pocket, but it is the right thing to do. However much I have lost in pay (and I have lost a lot over the past 8 years), I am still better off than my colleagues. This is beyond unfair – it is simply unjust, and must be fought.
Of course this won’t be easy. At the moment only the ASTI is taking on this fight. It’s going to be a lonely road.
And the government is ready to fight back. Just look at the ferocity of the government’s reaction to the ASTI decision to not do any more Croke Park hours:
- A threat not to pay increments in pay that are due
- A threat to not pay for Supervision & Substitution (one of the cuts made early in the crisis)
- A threat to deny new teachers a Contract of Indefinite Duration after 2 years of service.
Don’t think that the Government will accept the ASTI strike action and simply remove the 3 tier pay system. They have the hated FEMPI, and they have shown they are willing to use it. Expect them to retrench and hope to wear down the union. Because if teachers get pay scales restored for new entrants then there are a lot of other members of the public service (who are also suffering) who will want to follow suit.
The INTO and TUI have their own battles trying to improve the lot of new entrants:
- The INTO has given this update on their negotiations. (in brief, the issue has not been resolved)
- The TUI has given this update on their meetings with government negotiators. (and they also have nothing resolved)
The other teaching unions may at some point decide that protracted negotiations are not getting new teachers any closer to an equal and just payscale, but in the meantime ASTI members may feel very alone on the picket line.