Teachers’ Conferences: pay equality is key issue

The demand for equal pay for equal work has dominated all three teachers’ unions’ conferences. teachers’ unions’ conferences.

Socialist Worker

Teachers’ Conferences: pay equality is key issue

The education minister Richard Bruton  was met with a protest of hundreds of newly qualified teachers demanding  pay parity at the INTO conference while the TUI union has voted for industrial action by autumn if pay equality for new teachers is not delivered.
The INTO election for President saw a radical candidate poll over 40% of the vote in what is traditionally a conservative union amidst  a campaign where the discrimination suffered by newly qualified workers was a key issue.
In many cases new teachers are still between € 5 -7000 worse off each year compared to their colleagues doing the same work
It is likely union officials will try to do a deal to replace the current Lansdowne Road agreement without fully achieving pay equality or the end of the draconian Fempi legislation. But the conferences have made clear that many teachers will not wait indefinitely for these issues to be addressed.
New generation
A new generation of teachers are growing impatient with union officials who passively allowed huge cuts to their wages and conditions during the austerity years. A broad campaign across all three unions that involves rank and file grassroots members can force the Government to reverse the cuts.
The Government has attempted to isolate the ASTI union and target their members for standing up to the cuts. If they faced concerted action the divide and rule policy would collapse. The leadership of INTO and the TUI had allowed the disgraceful attacks on the ASTI to continue in favour of accepting piecemeal gains for staying within the present pay deals.
Another key issue will be the attempt in June by the Government to renew the so called Fempi legislation, this is an act brought in in 2009 that allowed the Government to cut pensions and pay in the public sector.
It is still used under the guise that there is still a financial emergency. Bruton is using the legislation to isolate and target the ASTI for daring to stand up for equal pay. The grassroots revolt among newer teachers will have to take up these issues if real equality is to be won.

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