Two-tier pay system for teachers is demoralising for new entrants, says ASTI chief

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Tuesday 05 July 2011 17:01 Age: 4 yrs

The publication today of the Department of Education and Skills Circular on the new pay scales for new appointees to teaching confirms that new teachers’ pay will be cut by approximately 15% and not 10% as announced in Budget 2011, ASTI General Secretary Pat King said today.

“Until January 2011, second-level teachers were appointed to the third point of the teachers’ pay scale in recognition of the qualification requirements for teaching in a second-level school. The decision to appoint newly qualified teachers to the first point of the scale represents a 5% cut in pay for these teachers. This is on top of the 10% pay cut which is being applied to all new entrants to the public service.

“Today’s Circular makes official a new two-tier system of pay for teachers. New teachers will be paid on a different basis than their staffroom colleagues despite carrying out similar work which is of equal value. In addition, these teachers face the prospect of a new pension scheme which will see them paying more into the scheme in contributions than they will ever receive in benefits.

“New teachers are at a vulnerable stage in their careers. This unfair targeting of their terms and conditions has the potential to deeply affect the morale of young teachers who will earn significantly less over their lifetime than their teacher colleagues who graduated one or more years before them. This latest attack on teachers’ pay follows the 7% pay cut and 7% pension levy which was applied to all teachers during the past two years.”

The ASTI is also concerned that experienced teachers who are paid directly by school authorities may now be treated as “new appointees” if they take up a Department-paid teaching position.

 “Privately paid teachers are another vulnerable group within the teaching profession. The majority of them remain in temporary employment for a number of years. This Circular means that a privately-paid teacher, who has not previously been paid by the Department, faces a pay cut and substantially less lifetime earnings if he or she secures a Department-paid position,” said Pat King.