SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS held a demonstration outside the Dail today as part of the long-running dispute over pay restoration, the amount that newly-qualified teachers are paid, and other issues.
Teachers at today’s demonstration told TheJournal.ie that they’re hoping promises made to them as part of the Haddington Road Agreement will be kept – despite emergency ‘draconian’ legislation which was brought in during the recession being renewed at midnight last night.
Noelle Moran, an accounting and Irish teacher at St Jarlath’s College, Tuam, who attended today’s protest, said that this wasn’t just about money, but about a number of issues surrounding the Landsdowne Road agreement, which was rejected by the ASTI.
At the centre of the dispute is the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest, or FEMPI legislation, which was brought in during the recession, and involves pay cuts, increment freezes, and the loss of allowances and longer working hours, for teachers.
“The FEMPI legislation is supposed to be reviewed every year, and was scheduled to be debated in the Dáil this week. But that didn’t actually happen and it was reenacted without an actual Dáil vote,” says Moran.
Since FEMPI came into play this morning, we decided that today was the day to make it known that we’re not very happy.
Moran said that teachers have been warned that they will not be paid for time spent supervising or substituting, a payment that teachers agreed to relinquish as part of the Haddington Road Agreement of 2013.
“We thought that from June 2016 onwards we would get extra payment for these extra hours as compensation. We weren’t told that it depended on us signing the Lansdowne Road Agreement. And that excludes all the extra curricular activity and time spent correcting exams that teachers have to do,” she told TheJournal.ie.
Entry-level teachers’ pay is also a central issue, with teachers looking for security for those entering the sector, which was also forfeited back in 2013.
The promises they made as part of that agreement have been reneged upon.”
In reaction to the legislation, Cork North Central TD Mick Barry has warned the government that they should back off from their threats to punish workers.
The Sinn Fein TD also said that there is widespread public disgust at the two-tier pay scale which this legislation copperfastens for young teachers.