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Sasko Lazarov/

ASTI urges teachers to reject deal over continued 'unequal pay' for new entrants

The union has said that the proposal involves a “continuation of unequal pay for thousands of second-level teachers”.

A UNION FOR secondary school teachers is urging members to vote against a public pay deal over concerns that it does not address lower pay for teachers recruited since 2011.

The executive council of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) has announced that it will ballot members on the agreement, which the union will recommend that members reject.

The deal, which is the first public service agreement to offer pay increases in more than ten years, would cost €906m over three budget years.

Staff in the public sector would receive two pay rises of 1% in the next two years under the proposed deal, which was negotiated with unions through the Workplace Relations Commission.

ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie said that teachers have “worked tirelessly to support their students and to ensure their education continues” over the last ten months during the pandemic.

“In this context, it is scandalous to think that a significant proportion of these teachers are experiencing pay discrimination,” Christie said.

“These teachers have been denied equal pay for up to a decade.”

The union’s president, Ann Piggott, said that the proposal involved “a continuation of unequal pay for thousands of second-level teachers”.

“This injustice is not just felt by those personally affected, but by the entire teaching profession,” Piggott said.

“The ASTI took strike action over this issue and all members endured the force of punitive measures. Today’s decision demonstrates that ASTI members want to continue to stand up for lower-paid teachers.” 

Details of the draft deal were published by Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath in December.

The executive committee of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) previously recommended that its members did not accept the proposed agreement.

The union said that the proposals would “continue to see our colleagues paid lesser rates of pay for carrying out identical work”, referencing cuts that were made to pay for new entrants a decade ago.

TUI President Martin Marjoram said the “limited measures contained in this proposed agreement will not end the ongoing scandal of pay discrimination for second level teachers employed on or after 1 January 2011 and the proposed agreement does not address it at all for the other recruitment grades in which TUI represents members. 

In Budget 2011, the government reduced the pay of new entrants to the public service by 10%.

The reduced pay rate has applied to all new teachers who were appointed on or after 1 January 2011.

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