Pay equality for teachers must be accepted and delivered – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, has challenged the Taoiseach to accept the principle of pay equality for all teachers, and to acknowledge that the Lansdowne Road Agreement will have to be replaced before it scheduled end date of September 2018.
Teachta Adams said:
“This morning, there are over 500 schools, representing 70% of the secondary level sector, closed throughout the State. More than 250,000 students are affected, and their parents and families schedules and routines are up in the air.
“It also affects the thousands of teachers involved, who have made it very clear they would rather be in their classrooms instead of on picket lines.
“Yesterday, they were effectively locked out of their workplaces.
“They are engaged in industrial action because of legitimate concerns about their pay and conditions, and their concerns are justifiably shared throughout the public sector, following seven years of pay cuts. The teaching profession is however particularly impacted because it’s the one area of the public service in which there were a large number of new recruits in the past ten years.
“The issue of pay equality has got to be addressed; yet no government Minister will agree to the principle of pay equality, let alone set out a timetable for when it might be achieved.
“Young teachers are earning up to €8,000 a year less than their colleagues hired before 2012, and that’s simply unacceptable.
“Last week’s negotiations with Gardaí, though obviously to be voted on by members, surely show that the issues are not insurmountable. Agreement can be reached
“What is required is meaningful dialogue which lays out a clear, sensible path to the provision of pay equality. That can’t wait until the end of 2018. Putting the issue on the long finger, like Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have done with most issues thus far, is not going to solve the problem.
“So, the Taoiseach must, on behalf of the government, accept the principle of pay equality here now, unequivocally, and open dialogue with the ASTI on that basis.
“He must further accept that the Lansdowne Road Agreement will have to be replaced with a new agreement that sets out a clear timetable for a single pay scale for all public workers and the restoration of allowances.”