A few weeks ago the TUI voted to accept the government proposals in relation to pay-scales for newly qualified teachers. A lot of teachers I know feel cheated by this vote, they feel that it is a missed opportunity in the ongoing battle to restore pay for anyone who took up employment after 2011.
By the way, isn’t it getting a little ridiculous to refer to the colleagues who started working with us up to 7 years ago as being ‘newly qualified’? It’s almost as if the language we use is suggesting that this inequality will be a temporary thing.
That’s simply not true. Unless we are willing to fight the government there will be no equality for our colleagues.
The longer that our ‘newly qualified’ colleagues are on an inferior scale, then the easier it is for successive governments to put the issue onto an ever-longer finger.
In fairness, it’s easy to see where the government is coming from. If you can get away with paying newer teachers thousands of euro each year FOR THE SAME JOB, then why wouldn’t you? Multiply this across the education sector and the government is saving millions each year.
Each year that the government delays pay equality is a year that the government hangs onto millions of euro. For the sake of our colleagues, we simply cannot stand quietly by and hope that in a few years things will be ok.
So. What do we do?
The INTO recently voted to reject these proposals. Media is reporting that they will next ballot members on industrial action. The exact form of this action is not yet decided, I believe.
As a member of the ASTI I have voted against these proposals. If you haven’t voted yet, then do so. We are asked to promote mental health in schools. Our Junior Cert curriculum promotes wellbeing. This is only lip-service as long as we don’t back up our colleagues.
If the ASTI vote against the current proposals, then the INTO & ASTI will be looking to ballot their members regarding industrial action. I honestly believe that we need to be willing to act strongly in order to make the government realise that enough is enough.