Thousands of teachers are set to strike early next month in their ongoing dispute over pay inequality.
The Teacher’s Union of Ireland (TUI) said under the current system, teachers employed after January 2011 are set to earn around €110,000 less than their longer-serving colleagues over the course of their careers.
It said they will earn over €50,000 less in the first ten years of their careers, “when key life choices are made.”
The union’s 19,000 members will down tools on Tuesday February 4th.
— Teachers' Union Ire. (@TUIunion) January 17, 2020
In a statement, TUI President Seamus Lahart said the union has been “left with no choice but to take strike action over the ongoing scandal of pay discrimination.”
“Regrettably, the commitment made by Minister McHugh last April that the issue of pay inequality would finally be addressed has not been honoured,” he said.
“The approach of the Minister and his Government since then has been to completely ignore the issue in the hope that it would somehow disappear.
“As our overwhelming mandate for industrial action shows, this short-sighted approach has only served to strengthen the resolve of our members. We are making it clear today that our campaign will continue until pay discrimination has been eliminated.”
He said paying teachers different wages based on the year they were hired is, “morally wrong and has proved hugely detrimental to the morale of teachers and lecturers.”
The union said the system is also harming students – with the recruitment and retention issues in the sector leaving some secondary schools unable to offer the full range of subjects and levels.
It warned that a survey it carried out last year found that 68% had advertised positions that nobody applied for and 47% had unfilled teaching vacancies.
The union is calling on its members and their families to make teachers’ pay a key issue in the upcoming General Election.
The February 4th strike date comes just four days before the public goes to the polls to choose the next Government of Ireland.
The following day, Wednesday the 5th, thousands of childcare workers and their parents are expected to join a national protest march over the “worsening childcare crisis” in Ireland.