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Talks on restoring pay allowances for teachers to conclude next month

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) had threatened industrial action over pay allowances

THE TEACHERS’ UNION of Ireland has welcomed a statement by the Department of Education saying it aims to conclude the current discussions concerning restoring pay arrangements for newly qualified teachers by early next month.

Yesterday the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) warned that it may be forced to consider industrial action unless “urgent and meaningful progress” was made on restoring pay allowances for teachers new to the profession.

In its statement the TUI said it was deeply frustrated over what it called a “regrettable” delay by government ministers in committing to a clear time-frame for the restoration of the allowances.

Since February 2012, qualification allowances were removed from new entrants to teaching. This amounted to a pay cut of approximately 20 per cent compared to their colleagues.

The TUI has been urging the government to provide a time-scale for when allowances for newly-qualified teachers would be re-introduced.

Statement released

This morning the Department of Education released a statement saying that the parties had reported “productive progress in the discussions to date” and “the aim is to conclude the current discussions by early next month.”

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland this morning, Joanne Irwin, President of the TUI, said she welcomed that decision.

“It’s the first time they have put an indication of a timeframe on it. We obviously hope they will abide by that timeframe and that is the reason we issued the statement we did,” she said.

The union has been in discussions with officials from both the Department of Education and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform since July, with a view to restoring newly-qualified teachers allowances.

Firefighters have since had their pay levels restored

Firefighters, who were also affected by a loss of pay allowances, have since had their pay levels restored. This is regarded as a precedent for other unions who are within the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

TUI President Joanne Irwin has previously said the union is confident that newly qualified teachers will see also their pay allowances restored.

Irwin said: “The Lansdowne Road Agreement didn’t actually deal with the removal of the allowances, of which a lot of teachers were affected, as were others like the firefighters who have since had their allowances restored to scale.

“Both ministers have actually come out and said that that is a precedent which will apply to teachers, gardaí and nurses.

“Both ministers have accepted that it is going to happen, we just need to know when.”

Read: “Hire unemployed teachers ahead of retired ones” says minister>

Read: TUI votes to accept government proposals over pay and work hours>

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