AS second-level teachers who are members of the ASTI took the picket lines today, closing schools across the country, union president Ed Byrne said“Ireland’s youngest and brightest second-level teachers are being targeted and demoralised through unequal pay.”
Mr Byrne was speaking as up to 17,500 teachers take to the picket line to highlight the injustice of pay disparity.
'An ASTI teacher starting in 2016 is earning €8,000 less than the 2010 teachers’ starting salary. This salary gap continues year after year. The Government’s failure to commit to achieving equal pay for young and recently qualified teachers is most alarming. The implications for education and for society are far reaching.
“Embedding inequality in the teaching profession can only lead to widespread morale issues amongst teachers,” continued the ASTI President “At best teachers will feel devalued, at worst the most talented and dedicated will leave the profession or the country. Students will lose out.”
Mr Byrne said OECD performance indicators show that we have a high performing second-level education system. Ireland’s teenagers are ranked fourth out of 34 countries for reading literacy and well above average in science and maths.
“It is well established that a key factor determining student outcomes is the quality of their teachers. Government policy is putting our high performing education service at risk.”
In a ballot of ASTI members, ASTI teachers voted by a large majority - 80% to 20% - in favour of strike action over unequal pay.
In addition to today’s strike, six other strike days have been announced as part of the ASTI’s campaign for equal pay for equal work:
· Tuesday, November 8th
· Wednesday, November 16th
· Thursday, November 24th
· Tuesday, November 29th
· Tuesday, December 6th
· Wednesday, December 7th