The reversal of pay cuts and the restoration of a single pay scale for all teachers is a central aim of the ASTI.
Budget 2011 slashed new teachers’ salary by 10%. Together with a change in the salary scale starting point for new teachers, this meant an overall reduction in pay of over 15% for teachers appointed after January 1st, 2011.
Most allowances above the basic salary scale have been abolished for new beneficiaries after February 1, 2012.
These changes were imposed unilaterally without consultation with the ASTI. The ASTI has continually raised the unjust targeting of new teachers. Representations made by the teacher unions during the Haddington Road discussions led to some improvements in new teachers’ salary scales. The ASTI will continue to argue the case for fair and equal pay for all teachers.
The ASTI has taken a number of actions in support of new teachers:
- A dedicated Strategy Committee has been established to plan the reversal of the multi-tier pay structure which is now in place for teachers.
- Legal advice is being sought in relation to the Government’s action which specifically impacts on young teachers.
- ASTI membership subscription fees were waived for a year for teachers affected by the allowances cut. This ensures that these teachers can have their views represented by the ASTI and have access to union protection, services and advice.
- The ASTI has conducted a survey of new teachers to find out how the cuts have impacted on them. The survey results will enable us to negotiate on new teachers' behalf, understand their views and priorities and to keep them informed and involved.
- The three teacher unions organised a rally in November 2012 to support the ASTI campaign for more teaching jobs and more investment in education. The ASTI is supporting the day of action against austerity organised on February 9th.
- The ASTI has met with key politicians and explained the realities facing new teachers to them.
- We are creating awareness through the media and among the public about the unfair treatment of young teachers, and urging all teachers to join with us in our campaign of opposition. Read more in the ASTI media centre.
- The ASTI provides industrial relations advice and representation to all members and seeks to improve their working conditions, and increase their hours and job security whenever possible. A large amount of this work is in support of new and non-permanent teachers.
- The ASTI has sought the establishment of a panel system for the filling of second-level teaching vacancies. As a result of ASTI pressure, the Department of Education and Skills is examining the feasability of such a system.
The ASTI is committed to campaigning for real employment opportunities for teachers.
Teachers are not immune to the jobs crisis gripping the country. Poor employment prospects for new teachers have been exacerbated by recent Government policies, which saw up to 1,000 second-level teaching jobs lost with the increase in pupil-teacher ratio in 2009 and a further 700 removed due to changes to allocation announced in Budget 2012.
Over 30% of second-level teachers are in temporary employment. A typical teacher will spend up to 8 years in temporary and part-time employment before finding a full-time job. Meanwhile the moratorium on posts of responsibility denies any promotional opportunities to young teachers.
The ASTI is committed to pursuing quality job prospects for teachers. We sought a panel system for the filling of teacher vacancies in order to ensure new teachers are prioritised. This resulted in some success when the Department published a circular governing the filling of temporary vacancies. The ASTI is also calling for a review of the allocation of teachers as part of the development of a sustainable policy for second-level teacher recruitment, retention and employment.