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'The start of Paschal's troubles': Primary teachers reject public sector pay deal

The INTO said that the pay deal did not address the issue of pay inequality for newcomers to the profession.

Minister Paschal Donohoe called the pay deal
Minister Paschal Donohoe called the pay deal "fair to workers and taxpayers".
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

PRIMARY TEACHERS IN the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) have overwhelmingly rejected the new public sector pay deal proposed by the government.

In total, 89% of teachers balloted voted to reject the deal. The INTO said that the proposed deal did not “progress the issue of pay equality” for newly-qualified teachers.

Reacting to the news, Solidarity-PBP TD Bríd Smith welcomed the ballot result, and said this was the start of Minister for Finance, and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe’s troubles in this regard.

In June, Donohoe welcomed an agreement between the government and unions on a draft pay deal.

He said the provisions put the public sector on a “more sustainable footing and secures industrial peace so that our public service remains a rewarding place for those who work in it”.

It is believed that more than 300,000 government employees will benefit from pay restoration and changes to pension contribution arrangements in the draft deal agreed. Over three years, the deal will cost the government €887 million.

The INTO, however, was critical of the deal at the time for not addressing the issue of pay inequality in the sector. Currently, a newly qualified teacher is paid a lower rate than a teacher who may have entered the profession over a decade ago.

The union balloted over half (19,172 of 36,272) of its members, and it resulted in a strong rejection of the deal.

Sheila Nunan, INTO general secretary, said: “The proposed agreement does not progress the issue of pay equality imposed by government on new entrant teachers.

While progress was made in recent years on pay equality this was not continued in the recent pay talks. There was an opportunity to draw a line under discrimination and right a wrong imposed on new entrant teachers. The proposed agreement does not signal an end to pay inequality.

She said that while talks with government with public sector representatives had led to “some progress” in areas, not enough progress had been made in a number of “key issues”.

Reacting on Twitter, Bríd Smith called it “a fantastic result” and said it was the start of Minister Donohoe’s “troubles” referring to equal pay.

In a statement last month, the national executive council of Siptu said that it recommended the acceptance of the proposals on the table from government.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform declined to comment following a request from TheJournal.ie.

Read: Public service pay deal is ‘fair to workers and taxpayers’ – Donohoe

Read: Government’s ‘over-reliance’ on private rental sector could cost €23.8 billion over 30 years

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Sean Murray

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