Latest news on allowances – August 24th 2012

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Friday 24 August 2012 09:42 Age: 2 yrs

The Government is currently conducting a review of allowances paid to public sector employees including teachers. An announcement regarding the outcome of this review is imminent. Updates will be posted here as soon as they become available.

The review was announced in December 2011. On January 31st 2012 the Department of Education and Skills announced that all teachers’ allowances were being considered as part of this review and that new beneficiaries (i.e. new entrants to teaching, new entrants to the supervision and substitution scheme, and newly appointed post holders) would receive no allowance payments from February 1st 2012 pending the outcome of the review. The only exceptions to this are allowances payable to newly appointed principals and deputy principals.

ASTI response

Meeting with Department: The ASTI, along with the INTO and TUI, sought an immediate meeting with the Department of Education and Skills. This meeting took place on February 3rd, 2012. The unions made clear their objections to the Department’s intentions and to the interim freezing on allowances. Subsequently the unions wrote to the Minister and publicly condemned the unilateral action by the Government. The unions also made a formal submission to the Department setting out the historical basis for the payment of teachers’ allowances.

Public statements: The ASTI responded to the freeze on allowances by condemning it as ‘another disgraceful attack on vulnerable young teachers whose pay scales have already been decimated’. The ASTI voiced its disbelief that new and young teachers hoping to make ends meet by signing up to do supervision and substitution work would not be paid.

The union also stated that teachers’ allowances are an integral part of teachers’ pay. Additional allowances for additional qualifications such as a Master’s Degree provided the only reward for teachers who invest considerable personal time and expense acquiring important knowledge and skills; this is particularly relevant given that there are so few promotional opportunities available to classroom teachers due to the Moratorium on Posts of Responsibility.

The ASTI stated that any change to the pay and conditions of employment for teachers would have profound implications for the Croke Park Agreement. In the event that teachers’ allowances are reduced, consideration will be given to conducting a ballot of members on withdrawal from the Croke Park Agreement.

The above statements appeared in the national and regional media.

Letters to School Stewards: The ASTI wrote to School Stewards briefing them on the review of allowances. Letters from February 2012 and August 2012

Information for members
: The ASTI developed a “Questions and Answers” page on the ASTI website which is updated regularly. 

Legal advice: The ASTI sought legal advice regarding the freezing of qualification and Post of Responsibility allowances. The ASTI is currently considering taking cases under equality or other legislation and is encouraging members who are affected to contact the ASTI to see if a legal challenge is viable.