Members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) staged lunchtime protests on Thursday over the severe damage being inflicted on teacher morale and the education service by pay inequality. Service to students was not affected by the protests, which took place at lunchtime outside the schools, colleges, centres and Institutes of Technology in which TUI members work.
Teachers and lecturers who entered the profession since 2011 are paid at a lower rate than their colleagues for carrying out the same work.
TUI Representative Sinéad Corcoran said: "It is unacceptable that one teacher be paid less than another for carrying out the same work. Pay discrimination has completely undermined the profession and has had a devastating impact on morale in staff rooms. Unsurprisingly, it has also led to a crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers, which inevitably impairs the quality of service to students in terms of subject choice and consistency of provision.
"Irrespective of whether they are personally affected by pay inequality, TUI members are completely united in demanding its end as a matter of urgency."
"The evidence of this growing crisis can no longer be ignored, denied or downplayed. There has been a 62 percent collapse in applications for post-primary teacher training courses since 2011, while a TUI survey in 2017 showed that 29 percent of new or recent entrants to the profession did not see themselves in the job in ten years’ time. In addition, there has been a fivefold rise in the emigration rate of second level teaching graduates," added Ms Corcoran.
"Recruitment difficulties are evident both across the country and across a broad range of subjects including Mathematics, Science, Modern Languages, Irish and Home Economics, and the list of affected subject areas will lengthen if the situation is not remedied.
She continued: "The reputation and the high quality of the country’s education system is at stake here, and short-term, short-sighted, ‘sticking plaster’ fixes will not work."
"The only guaranteed way of ensuring the retention of teachers and the recruitment of those needed for the future is to repair the integrity of teaching by restoring pay equality," she added.