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Richard Bruton heckled at conference as teachers threaten to strike over pay issues

Unions have voted in favour of industrial action if pay inequality is not addressed.
Apr 3rd 2018, 10:52 PM 16,539 121

ASTI Annual Convention 2018 pic1.jpg Education Minister Richard Bruton at the ASTI conference today Source: Gerard McCarthy

EDUCATION MINISTER RICHARD Bruton was heckled while addressing the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland’s (ASTI) annual conference in Cork today.

A number of delegates shouted and held up placards which called for ‘equal pay for equal work’ while Bruton spoke.

A pay arrangement in 2010 put newly qualified teachers on a lower scale than their colleagues; around 75% of the cuts introduced at that time have now been restored since. However, over 20,000 teachers remain on lower pay scales than their colleagues.

The ASTI, along with the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), today overwhelmingly backed a joint motion calling for industrial action if pay inequality is not addressed by next month.

Speaking about pay equality today, TUI General Secretary John MacGabhann said: “We are determined to persuade government to accept that pay parity must be established without delay.

We have a mandate for industrial action … The issue will be front and centre until resolved and we are leading the way in pursuit of that resolution.

Bruton previously said he helped negotiate a 15-22% pay increase for new teachers.

“The agreements to date have restored an estimated 75% of the difference in pay for more recently recruited teachers and deliver convergence of the pay scales at later points in the scale.

As a result of these changes, the current starting salary of a new teacher is €35,958 and from 1 October 2020 onwards will be €37,692.

“Any further negotiation on new entrant pay is a cross sectorial issue, not just an issue for the education sector.

“The government also supports the gradual, negotiated repeal of the FEMPI (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) legislation, having due regard to the priority to improve public services and in recognition of the essential role played by public servants,” Bruton told the Dáil last week.

Read: ‘We’ve been hit quite a few times’: Teachers’ union on why pay changes are needed

Read: Minister orders full review of sex education in schools

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Órla Ryan

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