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Teachers warned they won't receive pay increases unless they sign up to new deal

Minister Paschal Donohoe says only public sector workers inside a new agreement will benefit from it.

Primary school teachers protesting outside Leinster House
Primary school teachers protesting outside Leinster House
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

FINANCE MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe has said unions that don’t sign up to a new public sector pay deal will not benefit from pay increases under it.

The minister was speaking after the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) voted to back the Public Service Stability Agreement, which reverses pay cuts that were imposed on public servants during the economic crash.

The three-year agreement restores pay cuts to public servants earning up to €70,000, about 90% of public servants.

The pay increases range from 6.2% to 7.4% and will be phased in over the period with the first increases slated to take effect from 1 January 2018.

ICTU backed the agreement, which covers 300,000 public servants, by a margin of 80% to 20% but it has not been accepted by some unions.

Siptu, Impact and the INMO are among those to have backed the agreement along with unions representing doctors, civil servants and university teachers.

Other teaching unions are opposed to the agreement however, among them INTO and the TUI. Unite is also opposed to the agreement.

The TUI rejected the agreement by a margin of 87% to 13% and said it did so on the basis that “it would stall further progress on pay equality for at least three years”.

The union was referencing to the ongoing dispute related to pay rates among newer and longer-serving teachers.

“The two-tier pay system is causing serious damage to the teaching profession and the education system by undermining morale in staff rooms around the country and making it increasingly difficult for schools to employ teachers in certain subject areas,” TUI president Joanne Irwin said today.

The position of TUI members on this is crystal clear, regardless of whether they started teaching before or after 2011. A resolution to pay inequality must be accelerated, not delayed for another three years.

18/9/2017. Public Service Stability Agreements Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Asked about the dispute today, Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said the issue goes beyond the teaching profession.

“I’ve always made it clear that a claim like that has also to be consistent with the need that we have to fund and deliver and improve public services for everybody,” he said.

The cost of meeting some of the demands that are associated with that claim in the education sector alone is €70 million and of course if we did it for education alone we would of course be then required to do it for every other sector of government.

The minister added that only unions that have ratified the new agreement will benefit from it:

“In relation to the status of increments, the benefits of this agreement will be made available to those who are inside the agreement and I and the government have upheld that principle in relation to the Lansdowne Road Agreement and we will continue to uphold it in relation to this new agreement.”

Read: Secondary school teachers’ union recommends rejection of public pay deal >

Read: Government ‘disappointed’ watchdog refuses to join group to monitor bin charges >

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Rónán Duffy

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