TEACHERS HAVE CALLED on the Government to keep its side of the Croke Park Agreement.
Addressing the INTO Congress in Killarney today, the union’s president Noreen Flynn said teachers are keeping their side of the Croke Park Agreement and expect the government to meet its commitments. She told the 750 delegates present that if fully implemented the Croke Park Agreement would deliver huge savings for government.
The prize for government is a 20 per cent cost saving by 2015, a greater cost reduction than most private enterprises with significant staff costs have been able to achieve.
Ms Flynn described much of the commentary on the agreement as “populist and ill-informed” and “aimed at creating false divisions between the private and public sector that did no worker, public or private, any good”.
Later this week the union’s congress will debate a demanding that the guarantees under the agreement of no further pay cuts and no compulsory redundancies continue to apply. It will demand a ballot for industrial action up to and including strike action in the event of a breach of these guarantees.
Ms Flynn outlined that under the agreement teachers are working an additional 36 contract hours per year and are also operating effective redeployment arrangements. The first progress review conducted by the Implementation Body in June 2011 estimated the additional hours by teachers at 1.19 million hours per annum, which was priced at €45million.
Ms Flynn said the additional work undertaken by teachers under the agreement did not include the hours teachers give of their own time for extra-curricular activities.
She said teachers, along with workers throughout the public service, had taken a 7.5 per cent cut through the pension levy in 2009 followed by a further 6.5 per cent pay cut in 2010.
These real and substantial cutbacks have made a huge difference to the earning capacity and spending power of teachers, many of whom have mortgages, childcare commitments and are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
Flynn attacked those who she said were “determined to blame the public service for the country’s economic crisis”.
I have a very simple message to those who want to tear up this agreement. Hands off the Croke Park Agreement.